Exercise is frequently suggested for cancer patients to keep them protected against further health problems– but could it even make their chemotherapy efforts more powerful?
That’s what research out of the University of Pennsylvania is claiming; researchers looked at two groups of mice that had skin cancer, one of which received 45 minutes of exercise, while the other group stayed sedentary. Researchers discovered that the mice group that exercised had substantially smaller tumors in just a two-week period. If exercise can provide this much aid in humans, too, admits Joseph Libonati, PhD, FAHA, then a potentially smaller dose of the chemotherapy drug could have even fewer potential side effects. Libonati is also an associate professor and director of the Laboratory of Innovative and Translational Nursing Research.
If bolstering cancer treatment isn’t reason enough to start working out, says Mary Gemignani, MD, MPH, writer of The Ultimate Guide to Breast Cancer, there are still numerous other possible benefits: studies have again and again realized that exercising allows cancer survivors dealing with fatigue to feel stronger, more balanced, and even show a raised emotional health status. In fact, it could even help them lose weight, she offers.
Because Gemignani understands that many cancer patients lack the strength to get on their feet and work out at all, she suggests a few guidelines such cancer patients should be aware of before they attempt an exercise routine:
Not steady enough yet to stand? That’s OK, because these moves help keep your body– and mind– strong!
Sit up high on the front section of your chair. Grab the sides of your chair lightly and sit back a bit as you then tighten up your abdominal muscles and raise your right knee to your chest. Lower it down as you elevate your left knee during the next rep; alternate both until you get strong enough to try lifting both of your knees at the same time! Try doing five reps for each leg.
Like the knee tuck, start by sitting high (with your knees bent 90 degrees). Place your hands on the top of your thighs or above your head. Reach out your right leg until it’s above the floor and parallel. Hold it for about three seconds, squeezing your muscles tightly, before you lower that leg and repeat it with your other one. Try for as many as 10 reps for each leg.
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