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Staying active while going through treatment for cancer can be a tremendous challenge. Especially when dealing with an aggressive cancer like mesothelioma, treatments can make exercise seem the the last thing a patient wants to do. Chemotherapy, radiation therapy and surgery all have side effects that can limit energy and create physical limitations. However, here are five activities that patients can do this summer to jumpstart a low-impact exercise program to help reduce symptoms from treatments.
Its the original form of exercise and it can be tailored to your energy level. If you are feeling tired, start with 10 minutes a day and work your way up from there. Walking on a treadmill is fine, but some of the benefits of walking include getting outside in the fresh air, enjoying the scenery and connecting with others as you go. Walking with a friend? A great scenario.
Swimming is a fantastic way to tone all your major muscle groups, as well as strengthen your heart. Summertime is a great time to get into the pool If you don't like to swim, many pools and health clubs offer aquatic classes for patients including adaptive aquatics and pool therapy to provide non impact exercise and range of motion exercises.
Line dancing, zumba or dancing in your living room. Dancing is a great way to get some aerobic exercise and a quick way to lift your mood. Put on your favorite music and have some fun. No extra points for technique.
Working with light weights is a great form of exercise. Many gyms offer personal training and can tailor a workout to your particular ability or fitness level. Maintaining muscle mass is important for all of us, and even more so for those undergoing treatment. The elyptical machine is another good choice, and limits the impact on your joints. Check with your local health club. Many have fitness classes geared toward cancer patients.
A great way to stretch, move and feel good all at the same time. Choose the level and style that feels comfortable for you.
Nancy Brook, MSN, RN is a Nurse Practitioner in Surgical Oncology at Stanford University Medical Center, a Counselor and an Adjunct Faculty member. She has more than twenty years of experience treating patients, teaching nurses and counseling families.