Finding out you have mesothelioma, breast or any other type of cancer is scary. After the initial shock of the diagnoses, you start to think you won’t be around long enough to watch your kids grow up or to share another birthday with the people you love. Dealing with cancer is not easy, but getting enough exercise will help improve your quality of life.
The last thing you probably want to do when you’re battling a disease as big as cancer is exercise. What’s the point, right? Here’s the thing, you have no control over the disease, but you do have control over how you take care of yourself while you’re dealing with it. Following a regular fitness routine is proven to boost your mood, improve your energy levels and help you regain lost muscle mass.
How does exercise make you feel better?
When you have cancer, feelings of anger, resentment and depression can weigh on you. Even though these feelings are normal, letting them control your life is not going to make you feel any better. Exercise triggers the release of serotonin, dopamine and other hormones that boost your mood and make you feel more optimistic.
Regular exercise can combat some of the energy-zapping side effects of cancer treatments. Even something as simple as a 15 minute walk can give you the pick-me-up you need to take a warm bath and fix yourself something healthy to eat.
Chemotherapy can cause loss of muscle mass. Weight bearing exercises such as weight lifting, pushups and jogging can help you rebuild lost muscle so you’re stronger and better able to deal with the affects of cancer.
How much exercise is enough?
It is recommended that you get at least 2.5 hours of exercise per week. The great thing about exercise is that it’s cumulative. If you don’t feel up to doing a full 30-minute session, you can break it up into two or three 10 minute sessions throughout the day. Cancer treatment for mesothelioma is intense, so naturally you’ll have days when you are just too sick to exercise. It’s okay. Just do what you can on the days you feel up to it.
The toll cancer treatments can take on your mental and physical health is devastating. However, don’t let it break you down. Your health is worth fighting for. Use regular exercise to strengthen your body and improve your outlook on life.
David Haas is a cancer support group and awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In addition to researching the many valuable programs available to our site’s visitors, David often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer, while creating relationships with similar organizations.