A cancer diagnosis can be one of the most earth-shattering pieces of news to receive. Millions of people are dealt this body blow every day and, for a moment, every one of them sees their world collapse.

However, from an exercise perspective, we are seeing an ever-growing body of research showing the benefit of being physically active in protecting against different types of cancer. So when it comes to exercise and cancer, the impact of physical activity in acting as prevention is well documented.

But what happens after a diagnosis has been made and a person has had treatment for their respective cancer?

We all know of the obvious – a wide range of side-effects that could improve soon after the treatment and others that can linger after the treatment. What is not so clear is exactly when and what training to do after treatment.

There is a lot of benefit in being physically active after cancer treatment if the activity is appropriate for each person and their specific circumstances.

The American Cancer Society recommends:
-Be physically active as much as possible as soon as possible after treatment.
-Return to normal activities as soon as possible
-Do 150 minutes of exercise per week at least
-Do at least two strength training sessions per week


Cancer and Exercise – Encouraging Studies

In studies, when cancer survivors who are physically active were compared to people who were not active, they found two absolutely critical conclusions; The physically active group had a lower risk of recurrence and a better survival rate. Advanced cancer patients also show improved quality of life.

So the evidence suggests that, while physical activity is not to be a total barrier or a cure for cancer – and anybody who suggests otherwise is being thoroughly misleading – it can have a genuinely positive impact on the thwarting, relieving and recovering processes of this disease.

Always check with your doctor before starting an exercise regime and preferably do it supervised by a trained professional like a Biokineticist, Physiotherapist or Clinical Exercise Physiologist.

Treatments could affect different parts of the body, like lungs and heart in the case of certain chemotherapy drugs and need to be taken into account before starting or restarting an exercise regime.

Be mindful of…

Be sure you are aware of your limitations. Do not exercise if any of these apply to you:
1) Are you at risk of heart or lung disease?
2) Suffer from anaemia?
3) Are your mineral levels in a normal range?
4) Suffer from constant pain that will not go away
5) Nausea or vomiting

There are a great many reasons to be physically active and to exercise and they are all life enhancing, potentially life changing and even life-giving.

And when it comes to exercise and cancer, the place of exercise in the protection against and alleviation from the disease is increasingly shown to be effective and important.

Connect here with WatchFit expert Henry van der Walt

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