Designing Specific Workout Routines for Individuals Facing Cancer
Several factors have been identified as risk factors in many types of cancer. The list of risk factors is long, and many of them cannot be changed. Age, race, past exposure to occupational toxins and genetic predisposition may indicate the need for increased testing, but nothing can be done to eliminate these risks. One of the leading risk factors is a sedentary lifestyle, and this can be changed to good effect. Though a healthy amount of physical activity will not reduce the risk of all cancers, it is an effective prevention against most types.
Not surprisingly, the preventive medicine of exercise has also proven to be an effective complimentary intervention after cancer diagnosis. Once cancer treatment has begun, exercise has been shown to have positive effects even on cancer that cannot be prevented with exercise, such as brain and mesothelioma cancer. The benefits of exercise during treatment are so numerous that the leading research organizations now suggest that all patients get as much exercise as they can without risking their health.
Realizing the Benefits of Physical Exercise
Benefits have been shown to accrue to those who exercise more, but all levels of physical fitness have been proven to help by reducing symptoms specific to both cancer and treatment, increasing the success of treatment, and reducing the risk of recurrence for survivors. The most important factors in determining the optimum level of exercise are staying at the upper bounds of the individual's tolerance for activity and the individual's preference for exercise activity.
Defining Individual Tolerance
Patients with a history of exercise will generally have a higher tolerance for activity than those with no history, regardless of the type or stage of cancer. Tolerance can be thought of as the amount of exercise a person can handle without facing injury or over-exertion. Patients who engage in regular aerobics will increase their tolerance for aerobics over time, which allows them to gain more benefits.
Patients facing a loss of mobility, or those receiving palliative care for terminal forms of cancer, will also receive benefits. Their tolerance for exercise will often be much lower, and the help of a physical therapist may be necessary to identify the tolerance level and best forms of exercise.
Patient Enjoyment Matters
It is often overlooked, yet enjoyment of the chosen forms of exercise is critical. People are more likely to continue doing those things that make them happy, and the key to realizing benefits from exercise is establishing a regular workout pattern. Researchers often use specific types of workout intervention, such as a walking or gym-based routine, but they have been careful to point out that any form of physical activity is beneficial. If walking or a basic aerobics class is unappealing, seeking out a more enjoyable activity is definitely worthwhile.
Many options exist, and a personal trainer or fitness expert can help in identifying more and pointing out community resources. Yoga classes, swimming and water aerobics, and even gardening are all acceptable exercise formats.
I hope you take all these great tips into consideration and use it to benefit your health today.