by NUHA IDRIS
The challenges cancer patients and cancer survivors face are unique, including declines in physical functioning and quality of life.
Exercise can be one strategy used to combat the effects of cancer and its treatment. And it is important to consider exercise a priority even during the festive season.
The 2010 American College of Sports Medicine Roundtable was a report that found that cancer survivors, who engage in exercise training, restore physical functioning, improve physical fitness, have an enhanced quality of life, and mitigate cancer-related fatigue. Specific doses of exercise, whether aerobic exercise, resistance exercise or a combination of the two, could improve anxiety and depression symptoms, fatigue, physical functioning, and health-related quality of life.
Overall, it is advised to not avoid inactivity.
Exercise can be undertaken in any environment that suits you, whether that be at home, at the gym or at the park. Expensive equipment and special athletic wear are also inessential to quality activity. Rather, it is more important to have suitable shoes and loose and comfortable clothing.
It is important to understand that any physical activity helps, even if simply if it is a light activity like walking slowly or making the bed. Exercise can be categorised into moderate (e.g. gardening) and vigorous (e.g. swimming) activities as well. Start slowly and build strength and intensity over time, which allows your body to recover and for you to build endurance as well.
It is recommended that regular physical activity is particularly important.
Current recommendations include spreading out 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity throughout the week. This should include strength training which builds muscles. Alternatively, consider short sessions, especially if you do not have as much energy or time or are new to exercise. Importantly, it will be helpful to speak to your healthcare team as to what might be suitable for your particular condition.
Becoming physically active is a challenge for most adults, not to mention those that are living with or recovering from cancer. While research into this particular area is still ongoing, incorporating exercise into your everyday life will amount to benefits over time. General guidelines exist for implementing exercise regimes into your life, but it is imperative to speak to your healthcare team to tailor programs to your symptoms and condition.