One of the most intense and emotionally challenging events that can be experienced in life is a diagnosis of cancer. Cancer is a disease that may not always have a positive outlook, and there are not always treatments available for all types of cancer. While chemotherapy and conventional medicine can treat symptoms and disease, there are many steps that individuals faced with a diagnosis of cancer can follow to help increase their chance of recovery, while reducing symptoms of the disease.
One very powerful and effective therapy for cancer recovery is physical exercise. While exercise must be combined with proper nutrition and medically proven treatment practices, exercise can be extremely effective in treating the symptoms of many types of cancer and helping on the road to recovery.
Some major symptoms are common across many types of cancer, ranging from common cancers like breast cancer to rare diseases like mesothelioma. These symptoms include a loss of appetite, a decrease in energy, and depression. Exercise can be effective in treating these symptoms. Intense physical activity triggers the release of dopamine and other endorphins, which can have a significant and long lasting effect on mood and outlook. Physical exercise also stimulates appetite, increases energy levels by regulating insulin production in the body, and helps prevent insomnia by stimulating healthy sleep.
Any exercise programs that are conducted during cancer recovery or chemotherapy should be approved by a doctor or other medical professional. Different types of cancer may not allow for certain physical movements or other motions, so finding the appropriate physical therapy and exercises for an individual’s tailored recovery program is essential.
There are many excellent cardiovascular exercises that can be used as part of a cancer recovery program. Swimming is an excellent low intensity cardiovascular exercise, which avoids putting excessive strain on any joints. Swimming requires the use of muscles all over the body, and can be tailored from a low intensity swim, to a high level cardiovascular workout.
Yoga is also an excellent activity for anyone taking part in an active recovery program. Yoga has been scientifically (National Institute of Health) to lower levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, and can have a positive impact on lowering blood pressure and heart rate. High stress levels can impede a healthy recovery, and the stimulating movements of Yoga combined with meditation can be part of an effective lifestyle change to encourage a healthy, active recovery.
By: David Haas