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How Fitness Can Aide in Cancer Treatment

Posted Oct 30 2011 9:15pm
Studies have shown that it is important for individuals who are fighting illness to keep physically active, maintain a positive attitude, and eat a balanced diet. These attributes are known to improve the extent of recovery and the duration of recuperation.

It is natural for an individual to become fatigued and lethargic when battling cancer. The disease and treatment, as well as the emotional toll can be difficult to handle. It may be the last thing that a person wants to do, but being active can improve the coping ability and energy levels of the individual suffering with cancer. This is true for people with cancers that typically have low survival rates like pleural mesothelioma and epithelial mesothelioma and for people with cancers that typically high survival rates like breast cancer and testicular cancer.
Cancer is a stressful condition and unfortunately, stress has been linked to poor outcomes when treating health issues. Physical activity addresses this problem in several ways. A person will experience the release of “feel good” chemicals that lead to a better emotional state as a result of participating in exercise. The added circulation aids the immune system in combating cancer and healing after treatment or surgery. While a person is participating in the activity, it provides a period of distraction for other pressing matters.
The immune process of an individual is elevated when daily physical activity is completed. Anatomically, this is due to the features of the lymphatic system, which mirrors the vessels of the cardiovascular system and relies on it to achieve transportation to every area of the body. A healthy vascular system equates to the ability of the immune system to function at an optimal level.
Participating in physical exercise enables a person to maintain energy. This simple fact has a large impact on a person who is fighting cancer. Battling fatigue is a strain that an ill person should not have to deal with in addition to the disease and treatment, this situation has a negative effect on the person’s outlook and stress management.
Body motion leads to a better tolerance of pain in most people. This enables a person to cope with symptoms and procedures much more easily. 
People who remain in motion naturally keep healthier weights and have better blood chemistry levels when tested, showing a better overall function of the organs.
Fitness when dealing with cancer does not mean a person should be able to run in a marathon. Each person is different. Participating in yoga, Tai Chi, gardening, or walking the dog is enough for some people. Discuss an appropriate activity level with the attending physician.
  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.
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