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Physical Activity and the Cancer Patient

physical activity and cancer
physical activity and cancer

.Having cancer doesn’t mean that everything is ended; losing hope is no solution; one must have a single goal to achieve, which should be a fight against cancer. A gentle practice, for a few minutes of physical exercise, can benefit you during the treatments: it reduces the level of stress, fatigue, sleep problems, and other symptoms. Want to know more about exercise and cancer?

Side effects, both physical and psychological, derived from the diagnosis of cancer and cancer treatments, can make you feel sad, with muscle weakness and more tired than usual. It is currently known that low-intensity physical activity such as walking, pilates, yoga, or cycling (flat terrain) can substantially improve the quality of life of patients during cancer treatment.

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Exercise and cancer: the beneficial effects of physical exercise during treatment

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cancer and physical activity

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Did you know that there is scientific evidence about the positive impact of active life in patients of cancer treatment? It has been shown that specific symptoms such as nausea, asthenia, sleep disturbances, pain, anxiety, and depression significantly improve in those who perform aerobic exercise several days a week (whether walking, maintenance gymnastics). Also, a balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables and physical activity can help prevent significant weight gain, sometimes caused by specific cancer treatments.

 

  • Think about what kind of exercise you want to do and if you can sign up to a gym or request/ a friend / or family member to accompany you. At this moment, social support is essential and can help you fulfill your purpose.
  • Plan your time and set a time to do the physical activity you have chosen.
  • The day you receive treatment and the days after, or if you feel more tired, reduce the movement both in intensity and time. In that case, it would be enough for 5 or 10 minutes a day (remember that even if you are exhausted, exercise can help you control symptoms).
  • Avoid exercising that leaves you exhausted since the purpose is not to train for a competition, but to obtain the benefits of an active life and, with 30 minutes a day is enough.

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Lead an active life after cancer treatments

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Approximately 60% of people diagnosed with cancer gain weight due to chemotherapy and hormonal therapies. Maintaining a busy life and healthy eating can help you regain the ideal weight. The first goal after treatment is to give yourself time to recover definitively from the side effects, so you have to increase the level of activity slowly and progressively until you are fully recovered.

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Use the motto: “Little is more than nothing.” For physical activity to have a series of medium-term benefits, you must be consistent when exercising. Optimally, you initially dedicate 10 or 15 minutes daily to a more unaffected event, such as walking. However, if one day you feel more tired, three or four days a week may be enough.

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Recommendations after cancer treatment

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physical activity and cancer
physical activity and cancer

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These suggestions can help you, progressively incorporating physical activity into your daily life:

  • The first two or three weeks will be enough for you to spend 15 minutes a day to do the exercise you like most. The next three weeks increase that time by 5 minutes.
  • Try not to use transportation (car, bike, bus, train) to go to the nearest places, go walking briskly.
  • If it is a place that is further away, stop at the previous stop or park the car before arriving at your destination and do the rest of the way on foot.
  • Use the elevator as little as possible. Go up and downstairs.
  • When you go for a walk, try to be accompanied by a family member or a friend.
  • If you’re not very tired, make a little effort. Cheer up, move, go somewhere you like. When you return home, you will feel better and more lively.

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The importance of motivation

 

physical activity in cancer patients

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One of the main benefits of staying active during this severe stage is the psychological help it entails. Feeling that you can do some sports that you can move and achieve your small big goals will make you feel delighted and full. And motivation is essential in these difficult times. Therefore, surround yourself with your loved ones, keep your head busy, and fill yourself with positivity and optimism. You can achieve it.

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