When fighting a serious illness such as cancer, you need all the weapons at your disposal. In recent years, it has become increasingly evident that physical fitness and regular exercise are a potent weapon for fighting cancer and the sometimes debilitating side effects that come from cancer treatment. Adding regular exercise to your lifestyle can bring important benefits in terms of energy levels, reducing anxiety and depression, and sleep quality. Let's look a little more in depth at how exercise can help improve your quality of life, even when battling a serious form of cancer like mesothelioma.
Regular exercise is known to increase metabolism- the rate at which your body burns calories. Being overweight is one risk for developing cancer and certainly doesn't help fight the cancer you have now. There is also one additional benefit here if your form of exercise involves resistance training. This type of exercise increases muscle mass. So not only would you be burning calories while doing the exercise but also hours following exercise. And muscle itself burns calories, even at rest.
Resistance training is a fantastic way to get your exercise in. Of course, you will want to take it easy at first and pace yourself. Just keep gradually building the weight and you will see results that will encourage you to keep it up. Be sure to keep your condition in mind and perform stretching and some light aerobics beforehand to prepare your body for exertion.
Although you may feel tired from any cancer treatments you are undergoing, the type of sleep you are getting may not be adequate. If you have trouble falling asleep or don't get deep enough sleep or enough sleep, your body probably isn't properly healing. Vigorous exercise will change all that. You will sleep better, longer, and deeper, allowing your body to better repair itself for the battle ahead.
A recent study printed in the Mental Health and Physical Activity journal found that those who were exercising a minimum of 150 minutes a week experienced better sleep quality than those who exercised less- to the tune of 65 percent better!(1)
Let's face it. Cancer treatment is no fun. It can leave you feeling tired, drained, and irritable. When you feel bad, you usually aren't that easy to be around. Exercise increases levels of the body's own pain killers called endorphins. They are the "feel good" chemical of the body. Regular exercise will flood them into your body, promoting feelings of peace and contentment. Some cancer patients have even been able to reduce their dependence on pain medication after taking up a regular exercise regimen.