There are numerous advantages to staying physically active and the positive impact it has on your overall quality of life. Whether you are a fitness enthusiast or someone looking to start a healthier lifestyle, we will provide you with valuable insights and tips on incorporating exercise into your daily routine. The benefits of exercise for better health are outstanding.
The benefits of exercise for the cancer patient and survivors is astounding. No drug comes close to the risk to benefit to cost ratio of a good walk. You probably will not be weightlifting or playing soccer until the day before you die, but you likely could take a walk the day before your last day on earth. Everyone benefits and all studies show we enjoy better health with exercise.
Enjoy Health Benefits with Moderate Exercise
We are not talking about extreme exercises. While we all admire long distance runners, many of them develop musculoskeletal problems. Better yet, do something fun, like biking. There are biking trails all over the country to make biking a bed and breakfast extravaganza. Or dancing. Ballroom dancing puts a smile on everyone’s face. Or pickleball, a cross between ping pong, badminton, and tennis. Lots of fun.
How exercise improves our health is not fully understood. But we all know that exercise improves physical fitness and boosts immunity. Studies have also led to the conclusion that physical activity helps in maintain and improve health. So, if you or a loved one have been diagnosed with an illness such as cancer or other disease, don’t slow down. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. Ask for advice about exercising during and after treatment.
Enjoy A Longer Life!
A 2013 research study involving mice, found that mice that exercised on a treadmill for one hour daily for five days a week over a period of 32 weeks had a significantly lower risk of liver cancer compared to their sedentary counterparts.
Another study indicates that shedding a mere 5 percent of body weight increases survival rate of breast cancer patients by 20 percent.
And yet another study at Yale University, involving 5000 people with breast cancer; found that three hours of brisk walking per week reduced mortality rate by 46 percent.
Many other studies have come up with similar findings. And yet, even without these cancer-focused studies, it is well known that regular physical exercise helps keep the body healthy. Exercise for better health to help sharpen the mind, reduces stress, and helps you sleep better.
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Cancer Patients & Survivors: Exercise for Better Health
Exercise offers a wide range of health benefits that extend beyond specific conditions. Cancer patients and survivors who engage in regular physical activity can experience numerous positive outcomes. These include a reduction in stress, anxiety, and the risk of depression, along with the prevention of constipation. Exercise also boosts energy levels and reduces fatigue, promoting an overall sense of well-being. Exercise for better health, it will contribute to improved heart health, better blood circulation, and a lower risk of blood clots.
One crucial benefit of exercise for cancer patients is its positive impact on the immune system. By improving the flow of lymph fluids, exercise strengthens the body’s ability to defend against illnesses and infections. Additionally, regular physical activity leads to better quality and quantity of sleep, essential for the body’s recovery and rejuvenation.
“Feel Good” Hormones When You Exercise for Better Health
Engaging in exercise also triggers the production of endorphins, commonly known as “feel-good” hormones. These endorphins not only elevate mood but also aid in the body’s fight against disease. Furthermore, cancer patients often struggle with appetite issues, and exercise has been shown to improve appetite, ensuring proper nutrition during treatment.
For cancer survivors, exercise plays a crucial role in long-term health. It promotes stronger and healthier bones, aids in maintaining a healthy weight, and enhances balance and posture, reducing the risk of falls and injuries. Moreover, as survivors regain their strength and independence through exercise, they experience an increase in self-esteem and self-worth.
Musculoskeletal strength improves with regular physical activity, making daily tasks more manageable and reducing the need for assistance from others. This increased functional independence contributes to a better quality of life and a greater sense of empowerment.
Alleviate Nausea, Major Benefit to Exercise for Better Health
Additionally, exercise has been found to alleviate nausea, a common side effect of cancer treatments. By mitigating this discomfort, patients can focus more on their recovery and well-being.
Exercise provides a multitude of health benefits for cancer patients and survivors. From physical improvements such as better heart health, enhanced immunity, and stronger bones to mental well-being with reduced stress and anxiety, exercise plays a pivotal role in promoting a healthier and more fulfilling life during and after cancer treatment. Embracing regular physical activity not only aids in the healing process but also empowers individuals to regain control of their lives and experience a renewed sense of vitality.
Health benefits of exercise are not limited to certain conditions. When cancer patients and cancer survivors exercise regularly, they set themselves up for improved overall health.
Exercise for Better Health During and After Treatment
Physical exercise helps during and after cancer treatment. Some therapists advise patients to start exercising as soon as possible following cancer diagnosis and commencement of treatment.
Your ability and intensity depends on whether or not you were physically active prior to the diagnosis. If you have been exercising hard, you may need to slow down a bit. Those who begin exercising during or following treatment, need to start with gentle exercises and to build up the intensity and duration of exercise as your body adjusts. As you commence exercise to help in your recuperation, it helps to consult your doctor and a physical therapist for any suggestions and guidance.
This is even more important for elderly persons and those suffering, or with a risk of suffering from conditions such as heart disease, osteoporosis and arthritis.
How Much Exercise Should You Do?
The idea of exercising is to keep your body fit. To achieve this, you need to indulge in regular physical activity. More than 20 studies have found that the risk of cancer recurrence is lower for survivors who maintain a physically active lifestyle. These studies have been carried out on people with different cancers, including ovarian, prostate, breast and colorectal.
The American Cancer Society says that cancer survivors benefit from exercise for better health by doing the following:
- Exercising regularly
- Exercising for 2 ½ hours or more per week
- Continues with, or settles back to normal daily activities as soon as possible following cancer diagnosis
- Adopts challenging strength training as part of the exercise program for two days or more per week
19 Low Impact Types of Exercise for Better Health
There are many types of exercise to choose from including the following:
- Walking: A simple yet effective low-impact exercise that can be done almost anywhere.
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- Swimming: Provides a full-body workout without putting stress on joints.
- Cycling: Riding a bicycle is gentle on the joints and great for cardiovascular health.
- Yoga: Improves flexibility, balance, and promotes relaxation.
- Water Aerobics: Low-impact aerobics in the pool, reducing stress on joints.
- Elliptical Trainer: Offers a low-impact alternative to running or jogging.
- Rowing: Engages multiple muscle groups with minimal impact on joints.
- Tai Chi: A gentle and flowing martial art that improves balance and reduces stress.
- Dancing: Low-impact dance styles like ballroom or Zumba provide a fun workout.
- Stationary Bike: Provides a cardio workout without stressing the knees.
- Hiking: Walking on natural terrains can be low-impact and refreshing.
- Gentle Aerobics: Low-impact aerobic exercises with modifications for joint comfort.
- Resistance Band Workouts: Strengthen muscles without heavy weights.
- Golf: Walking the course and swinging clubs can be a low-impact workout.
- Seated Exercises: Chair-based exercises are suitable for people with limited mobility.
- Stretching Routines: Helps improve flexibility and prevent muscle stiffness.
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- Stair Climbing: Ascending and descending stairs provides a low-impact workout.
- Kayaking/Canoeing: A great way to exercise while enjoying nature.
- Gardening: Activities like weeding and planting can be a low-impact workout.
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These low-impact exercises are suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, making them an excellent choice for cancer patients and survivors looking to stay active while being gentle on their joints and muscles.
20 Tips to Stay Focused and Maximize Benefits of Exercise for Better Health
- Consistency: Aim to exercise on a regular basis, ideally several times per week, to build a habit and make it a part of your daily routine.
- Set Realistic Targets: Establish achievable goals that align with your current fitness level and schedule. Start with small milestones and gradually increase the intensity or duration as you progress.
- Variety: Incorporate a variety of exercises to keep your routine interesting and prevent boredom. This can include cardio, strength training, flexibility exercises, and activities you enjoy.
- Track Your Progress: Keep a record of your workouts, noting the exercises, duration, and any improvements you notice. This will help you stay motivated and track your achievements.
- Reward Yourself: Set up a system of rewards for reaching milestones or sticking to your exercise routine consistently. Treat yourself with something you enjoy, like a favorite meal or a relaxing activity.
- Create a Support System: Share your fitness goals with friends, family, or join a fitness group to stay accountable and receive encouragement.
- Schedule Your Workouts: Plan your exercise sessions in advance and include them in your daily schedule. Treat them as important appointments that cannot be missed.
- Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to how your body feels during and after exercise. Adjust the intensity or duration as needed to avoid overtraining or injuries.
- Find an Exercise Buddy: Exercising with a friend or family member can make workouts more enjoyable and provide additional motivation so you can exercise for better health.
- Celebrate Small Wins: Celebrate each achievement, no matter how small. Acknowledging progress will boost your confidence and keep you motivated.
- Mindful Approach: Focus on the present moment during your workouts, concentrating on how your body feels and the positive impact of exercise on your well-being.
- Preparation: Lay out your workout clothes and gear the night before to eliminate any barriers to getting started in the morning.
- Create a Comfortable Environment: Ensure that your exercise space is comfortable and conducive to workouts, whether it’s a home gym or a designated area in your living space.
- Use Fitness Apps or Trackers: Utilize fitness apps or wearable trackers to monitor your progress and receive reminders for workouts.
- Celebrate Milestones: When you reach significant milestones or complete specific fitness challenges, take time to celebrate your accomplishments.
- Remind Yourself of Your Why: Regularly remind yourself of the reasons you started exercising in the first place, as it can reignite your motivation during challenging times.
- Adjust Your Routine as Needed: Be flexible with your exercise routine and adapt it to changes in your schedule or lifestyle to maintain consistency.
- Join Exercise Classes or Workshops: Participating in group classes or workshops can provide a sense of community and add excitement to your fitness routine.
- Visualize Success: Imagine yourself achieving your fitness goals and experiencing the benefits of regular exercise. Visualization can boost motivation and commitment.
- Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself and avoid self-criticism if you miss a workout or face setbacks. Remember that progress is not always linear, and every effort counts.
By setting and implementing these goals, you can increase the likelihood of maintaining your exercise routine in the long term and enjoy the many physical and mental benefits that regular physical activity brings.
“Does refusing to go to the gym count as resistance training?”
Avoid Exercise In The Following Cases
- Low white blood cell count
- Mineral (electrolyte) imbalance especially due to vomiting and diarrhea
- If you have pain, nausea or vomiting
- Avoid water exercises if you have an inserted feeding tube or catheter
- Avoid exposure to the sun, of skin undergoing radiation
- Avoid extreme exercises during treatment and immediately after treatment
- Consult your doctor in case of injury, sudden weight gain, swelling, bleeding, shortness of breath after minimal exercise or similar
20 Health Benefits; Stay Motivated and Exercise for Better Health
Your body benefits from exercise in various ways, contributing to both physical and mental well-being. Here are some key ways exercise positively impacts our health:
- Weight Management: Regular physical activity helps in managing body weight by burning calories and increasing metabolism. It prevents excessive weight gain and obesity, reducing the risk of related health issues.
- Cardiovascular Health: Exercise strengthens the heart and improves blood circulation, reducing the risk of heart diseases, stroke, and high blood pressure.
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- Muscle Strength and Bone Density: Engaging in strength training and weight-bearing exercises enhances muscle strength and bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
- Improved Flexibility and Balance: Activities like yoga and stretching exercises improve flexibility and balance, promoting better posture and reducing the risk of injuries.
- Reduce Incidence of Constipation: Your digestive system will be stimulated and help in removing waste
- Enhanced Immune System: Regular exercise boosts the immune system, making the body more effective at fighting off infections and illnesses.
- Mental Health Benefits: Exercise releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones, which reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It enhances mood, cognitive function, and memory.
- Better Sleep Quality: Physical activity improves sleep patterns, leading to better rest and overall mental rejuvenation.
- Increased Energy Levels: Regular exercise boosts energy levels and reduces fatigue, allowing individuals to be more productive and active throughout the day.
- Blood Sugar Regulation: Exercise helps regulate blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and improving insulin sensitivity.
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- Positive Impact on Cholesterol Levels: Exercise can raise the levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, promoting better heart health.
- Reduction in Chronic Disease Risk: By preventing obesity and improving overall health, exercise reduces the risk of various chronic diseases such as diabetes, certain cancers, and metabolic syndrome.
- Improved Flow of Lymph Fluids which strengthens the immune system
- Improved Balance and Posture with stronger musculoskeletal strength
- Enhanced Lung Function: Aerobic exercises improve lung capacity and respiratory efficiency, supporting better oxygen supply to the body.
- Social Benefits: Participating in group exercises or sports activities can provide social interaction and a sense of community, contributing to mental well-being.
- Brain Health: Exercise stimulates the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), promoting brain health, neuroplasticity, and reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
- Improved Self-Esteem and Self-Worth
- Longevity: Studies have shown that regular physical activity is associated with increased life expectancy and a higher quality of life in old age
- Better Quality of Life when you enjoy all the above benefits
Exercise for Better Health
Exercise is a powerful tool for improving overall health. Whether it’s cardiovascular workouts, strength training, flexibility exercises, or activities that promote mental well-being, regular physical activity offers a multitude of benefits for the body and mind. Making exercise a part of daily life can lead to a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling lifestyle.
Consider wearing a pedometer helps you track your physical activity level so that you can maintain and/or increase your activity level
Always remember to consult with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise regimen, especially if you have any pre-existing health conditions or concerns.