Exercise and Cancer

Cancer can bring your life to a screeching halt, but you’ll find that as you go through treatment and as each day comes closer to normal, you still need to move forward. One way to normalize each day after a cancer diagnosis is through exercise. The National Cancer Institute states that exercise has an enormous positive benefit on both cancer treatment and cancer risk reduction. However, if you have never exercised before it can be hard to get into it.

If you are worried about getting started with exercise, remember that you do not have to do it alone. You will find that there are likely family members and friends who are wiling to help you. But if you want good concrete information, sign up for a gym membership and talk to a professional trainer. At the very least, the gym will help you learn how to use all the different equipment. A lack of knowledge in this area is very common with adults and if you are nervous about using the equipment for the first time, remember that everyone had to start from somewhere!

For the beginner, here are a few basic steps for getting you started on creating an exercise schedule to stick to--

  1. Warm Up
    Warming up before exercise is important for any person exercising, no matter what their fitness level. Good, simple ways to warm up are light aerobic activities like walking and doing jumping jacks. Getting your heartbeat elevated and increasing your blood flow are important before putting your muscles to work.
  2. Cardio
    Cardio, short for cardiovascular, is an aerobic activity like running, walking, or cycling for a few examples. Try to work some cardio into your routine almost everyday. Even if you’re just going for a walk around the block, moving your body a little bit is better than not at all. As more time passes and you are able to keep up your cardio exercises, working out will become easier and easier as you become stronger.
  3. Strength Training
    Strength training usually brings to mind images of body builders lifting hundreds of pounds in weight at once. However, strength training just involves targeting specific major muscles groups and working them by lifting weights at a comfortable level. The amount of weight that can be used will depend from person to person. To prevent injury, read the directions of a machine thoroughly or hire a trainer. Strength training should be done a couple of times a week and the same set of major muscles should not be targeted two days in a row.
  4. Cool Down
    Walking slowly or stretching at the end of a workout to cool down is essential to help prevent injury and jumpstart the recovery process for your body. Stretching is a part of flexibility training and is also another important component of keeping a healthy body and increasing your range of motion. Stretches should be done slowly and be a part of the process of bringing your heart rate down to it’s usual beats per minute.

Remember that you do not need to stick with one exercise if you find that it is boring, dull or painful. As a matter of fact, the old saying of “no pain, no gain” is completely wrong. Good exercise leaves you feeling sore and pleasantly tired. Exercise taken too far leads to pain and fatigue. If you are pushing your body too hard, you’ll find that you won’t be able to exercise the next day.

Once you have started, keep going! Anyone can do a few strenuous exercises over the space of a few days, but it takes a great deal more effort to keep at it for a regular stretch of time. Make a schedule and stick to it. Remember that just by exercising three or four times a week, you can make a huge difference in your physique and well-being.

Whether you are dealing with breast cancer, testicular cancer, or mesothelioma, you’ll find that exercise can improve your general health and can greatly improve your mood. Exercise releases endorphins into your body, and it allows you to clear out the stress that you may be experiencing. Take a few moments to consider what your options are and what kind of exercise is most likely to suit you. Above all, use exercise as a fun outlet to feel good about yourself.