Friday, January 6, 2012


by Liz Davies, Guest blogger

People with cancer often find the treatments are more taxing than the deadly disease itself. Treatments can drain energy leading to high levels of exhaustion and weakness. Nausea and vomiting are also common occurrences during treatments. This is not the way anyone wants to go through life, but cancer patients should know this is not the way they have to live. Many people have not thought of exercise as a way to curb these side effects. Daily physical activity allows cancer patients to reclaim strength and feel healthier. This is true no matter what type of treatment a cancer patient is undergoing whether is it surgeryfor brain cancer or chemotherapy for the treatment of mesothelioma.

Exercise increases muscle mass which allows people to feel and act stronger. Cancer patients will feel weak from treatments so this strength will give them motivation to be more active. This will give them the confidence to take part in more activities letting patients see how gratifying life can still be. 

Physical activity also gets the heart to work at a faster pace which can help preventblood clots and other heart issues. A rising heart rate allows people to feel more alert. A healthy heart is one of the reasons cancer patients who exercise are less likely to see recurrence of the cancer.

Working out creates better psychological health. Exercise improves moves and creates motivation for people to connect with the world around them.

There are certain exercises and work out plans that are more beneficial depending on the type of cancer, level of fitness, and stage of treatment. One type of exercise that is beneficial for everyone is simply stretching. Improving flexibility allows for people to be able to partake in other forms of exercises and increase blood flow. Strength training is also a good thing to incorporate into an exercise routine because many cancer patients experience the loss of muscle mass because of their treatment. This can be in the form of resistance or weight training. Aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, or playing sports are a great way to improvelung function and helps with weight management.

Like anyone mapping out an exercise regimen, it is important to choose activities that are appropriate. Running a 5k might be suitable for some while walking around the block is enough cardio for others to see results. Doctors and trainers who specialize in cancer are very knowledgeable on the correct amount of exercise that needs to be accomplished in order to see results as these vary by individual.

*Disclaimer: Be sure to check with your health care provider before starting any exercise routine.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and inspirations with us, Liz. Keep up the good work!

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.


Dr. Debra Holland said...


I'm going to forward the link to this to a friend who has cancer.

One of the things you didn't mention was the benefits of exercise in combating low spirits and depression, which people with cancer can struggle with.

Exercise is also good for the brain because it increases blood flow.

Ally Broadfield said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Liz. My mother is currently battling two different, unrelated cancers, which means two different chemo treatments, etc. Light exercise has really helped her, especially in combating the peripheral neuropathy that is often a side effect of chemo.

Karin Shah said...

Exercise is good in so many ways. I wish I could make myslef be more regular! Sometimes I exercise every day for weeks and then I just stop and it's hard to start back up again. Interesting post!

Liz Kreger said...

Good advice, Liz. I've been a Stage 4 breast cancer survivor (and still undergoing treatment) for the last 16 years. There are times when I'm able to exercise ... usually only to the extent of walking, but most often I find myself unable to do any type of regime. Given the fact that I still work full time, I do a lot of walking in the course of my day ... plus my office is in an old Victorian house - which means stairs. LOL

Kathy Kulig said...

Thanks for forwarding the link Debra. And great addition about exercise for helping low spirits and despression.

Kathy Kulig said...

Hi Ally, sending good wishes and healing thoughts for your mom. Besides writing, I'm a Cytotechnologist, which means I'm involved with the diagnosing of cancer. I'm so glad the light exercise has helped her.

Kathy Kulig said...

Karin, It is hard, but I make myself get in a routine. I miss it when I skip a couple days. I have more energy when I workout regularly.

Kathy Kulig said...

Liz!!!! Hi Sweetie. My RT booksigning buddy. Had such fun chatting with you at RT. 16 years? Wow, you're a soldier fighting this disease. Bravo! You do what you can when it comes to exercise and forget the rest. (((Hugs))) Keep in touch.