Traditionally, people getting cancer treatments were told to rest and avoid exertion, to save their strength during treatment. But more experts now say that the best way to get through treatment, and possibly the best way to beat cancer, is to stay as physically active as possible.
The American College of Sports Medicine has revised its national recommendations, saying that cancer patients and survivors should strive for the same goal as everyone–about 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise, along with resistance training and stretching.
The panel does caution that workout plans must be adapted to each person’s condition and treatment. For example, some cancer treatments make bones more brittle, which will require exercise that place less stress on them. And immunosuppressed patients must avoid exercise in groups of people.
But the expert panel cited research showing that aerobic activity reduces fatigue, and loss of both muscle and bone mass. Exercise also can calm fear and restore a sense of control.
And the most important benefit, emerging evidence shows, may be a better chance of survival: Treatments can be more effective when the body can better withstand the effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Dr. Eleanor Walker, lead author of an ongoing study of exercise in cancer patients in Detroit, says her research is “potentially showing that even if you don’t start your exercise training until you’ve received your diagnosis, it can still be of some help. And if you’re in a healthier state before you get a [cancer] diagnosis, you’re going to do better because your body is in better shape and you have reserves…”
Source: HealthDay News