A new study demonstrates powerful benefits of strength training in cancer patients after chemotherapy. The authors of the study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, concluded "High-intensity resistance training has persistent effects on muscle strength, cardiopulmonary function, quality of life, and fatigue. Rehabilitation programmes for patients treated with chemotherapy with a curative intention should include high-intensity resistance training in their programme."
Just having a diagnosis of cancer can prove both psychologically challenging and tiring. Chemotherapy itself, while sometimes necessary, is toxic to the body. This study demonstrates that high intensity strength training helps to rebuild the body after the trials of chemotherapy. I believe that this happens for three reasons; most obviously, strength training builds muscle--that alone is associated with a higher quality of life. Less obviously, the demands of strength training require your body to create more energy--that process requires your cells to produce more mitochondria. Mitochondria not only supply your muscles with more energy, but also your nervous system and immune system. Third, strength training produces lasting hormonal changes including higher levels of human growth hormone (HGH). You've probably read about HGH's role in antiaging medicine. The most healthful way to increase HGH is not going down a back alley and buying it off a guy named "Bubba" or going to a Beverly Hills antiaging specialist and paying thousands of dollars for a therapy that will probably shorten your life---the best way is to push heavy iron hard!
If you read that last paragraph again I hope that you'll agree that its not only cancer survivors that should be lifting weights--it's everyone!