Top 5 Benefits of Exercise for Mesothelioma Patients
- Health & Wellness
- March 25, 2016
Everyone knows exercise is beneficial for health and wellness.
The same rule applies to those living with cancer. The benefits, such as improved appetite, lower stress levels and higher energy, are unimaginable. Learning how to exercise well can improve your prognosis and quality of life.
Just remember to speak with your oncologist or mesothelioma specialist before beginning any new exercise programs.
Benefits of Exercise
Living with cancer, such as mesothelioma, can make it really hard to focus on anything else. Your life becomes dedicated to researching the latest clinical trials, learning about the best treatments, making doctor appointments and spending quality time with your family.
Patients often neglect other avenues that could improve their prognoses. Exercise is the perfect example of this. Learn how a simple exercise regimen planned with your oncologist could improve your quality of life, both mentally and physically.
The appetite of many cancer patients decreases during and after cancer treatments. Whether patients are having difficulty swallowing or no longer find enjoyment eating the foods they once loved, it can be difficult to maintain adequate nutrition throughout their cancer journey.
Often, this results in unintended, yet significant weight loss, which could hurt the patient’s prognosis by weakening the body’s immune system.
Exercise is known for increasing the body’s metabolism, which in turn increases someone’s appetite. By increasing the amount of physical activity in your life, you can improve your appetite and your overall nutrition.
Lower Stress Levels
Living with a cancer, such as mesothelioma, puts an undue amount of stress on anyone. Often, it feels impossible to relax and take your mind off your diagnosis. Exercise can change that.
When people get moving, they are typically focused on the task at hand — walking around the block or sinking into a deep yoga stretch. This can separate you from the negative thoughts you may be having, and for just a few moments, your stress and anxiety levels can drop.
Cancer of any type causes plenty of body changes. In some cases, cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can change how you look and feel. This can affect your self-esteem. Get moving to improve your self-image.
No matter how strenuous or simple your exercise plan is, your body image will begin to improve. By rebuilding your confidence and satisfaction with your body, you improve your physical and mental health.
Improved Body Functions
When going through cancer treatments, it is completely normal and expected to have a decrease in body functions.
Mobility and motor functions may be diminished. Physical activity can improve these. To reap the benefits of exercise, you don’t have to participate in exceedingly strenuous or difficult workouts, rather simpler movements, such as yoga or walking, can have profound effects.
High Energy Levels
Feeling tired and fatigued is typical of having cancer and chemotherapy. While napping and going to bed early can have major benefits, people can usually regain some of their normal energy levels with exercise.
The more you work out, the more tired you should be, right? No.
In most cases, cancer patients who get moving often find themselves more awake throughout the day. This benefit can be attributed to fully tiring your mind and body, so when you finally go to sleep for the night, you fall asleep quickly and deeply.
Don’t Give Up on Yourself
Whether you are living with mesothelioma or have simply avoided working out too long, beginning an exercise program is no easy task. It takes persistence, dedication and, most of all, a warrior mentality.
Much like your battle with cancer, remember to take everything one step at a time — day by day.
Cara is a childhood cancer survivor, daughter of a long-term breast cancer survivor, and she knows life as a caregiver. She is also a member of the American Lung Association's LUNG FORCE leadership committee, a repeat team captain for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life and has the Social for Health Care Certification from Mayo Clinic and Hootsuite. Cara also frequently writes for HuffPost.