Physical and Mental Benefits of Exercise by Liz Davies
Regular exercise is vital for a person who enjoys good health and is especially important for a person suffering from cancer. The physical and mental benefits of exercise are many. Though the body of even a healthy person finds exercise stressful at first, the body adapts to that stress, becomes stronger and will work more efficiently over time. This is true, to an extent, for someone suffering from a systemic disease such as cancer.
Exercise helps oxygen and nutrients get into the body and also helps remove carbon dioxide and other waste products from the body, all of which are crucial to a cancer patient. This improves stamina and raises energy levels, which helps the patient better endure whatever treatment they’re undergoing for their disease.
Other benefits of exercise are stronger bones, ligaments and tendons, which lessens the chance of injury. Exercise lowers the resting heart rate, enlarges the arteries to the heart and strengthens the heart over all. It also lowers blood pressure, blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. At the same time, exercise raises levels of HDL, or the good cholesterol. Exercise improves immune function, which is also very important in the fight against cancer. Exercise also gets calcium into the bones and helps prevent osteoporosis. Nothing says that just because a person has cancer they can't contract other diseases or conditions. Exercise helps keep other maladies at bay, and so gives the body more energy to fight the cancer.
The cancer patient should choose an exercise that won’t overtax them and should consult their physician before they take on an exercise routine. Exercises can be any activity the patient enjoys, like dancing, gardening, golfing, swimming, tennis, housecleaning, jogging and even plain old walking. The best exercises are ones that keep the heart rate up.
Maybe even more important than what it does for the body, regular exercise also elevates the mood. Cancer patient are often subject to periods of depression, fear and worry and these unhappy states decrease with regular exercise. This is because, as studies show, exercise boosts mood-elevating substances called endorphins. This effect is enhanced when the patient shares their exercise routine with other patients. It’s important that the cancer patient not be isolated, and exercising with others will make it easier to commit to a schedule. There are also other ways of sharing ideas with people who are going through the same things. Support groups are very popular and there are groups for many different types of cancers, even mesothelioma support groups.
Exercise proves to be very beneficial for cancer patients both physically and mentally. Exercise often promotes cancer patients to make other positive changes in their lives as well.
Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.