Sports & Exercise as it Relates to Breast Cancer Survivors

Sports & Exercise as it Relates to Breast Cancer SurvivorsCancer patients often wonder whether or not they should be exercising after being treated for cancer. Some people believe that exercise helps cancer patients, while others believe they should be more restful.

One research study (1) looked into the effect of exercise and sports in patients suffering from breast cancer. They combined the results of 51 other studies that evaluated the physiological and psychological effects that exercise had on these breast cancer survivors. They found that sports and exercise were safe to undergo in breast cancer survivals and that they uniformly did better about their physical and mental health.

With this data, they concluded that breast cancer patients should be encouraged to exercise after their treatment for cancer.

Source: 1. Battaglini, CL, et al. Twenty-five years of research on the effects of exercise training in breast cancer survivors: A systematic review of the literature. World J Clin Oncol. 2014 May 10; 5(2): 177–190.

Dr. Adem Gunes Dr. Adem Gunes has built the world’s largest database of scientifically tested natural substances with proven effects in cancer treatments. In 2009, he was appointed as the Chief Physician of ProLife Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, and played a key role in the establishment of the research laboratory. He is also the co-founder of the first Austrian hyperthermia center. Now, Dr. Adem works closely with cancer patients from around the world (including Germany, Thailand, Dubai) to recommend them a complementary cancer clinic or to create a personalized care plan for patients to follow at home.

Having An Exercise Program As Part Of Your Cancer Treatment

Sports is not just a way to interact with friends and boost your self-esteem. The primary function of sports is maintaining your health and keeping you strong and fit. Engaging yourself in sports will help you improve your mental, emotional and physical health, thus contributing to your well-being as well.


General Recommendations for a Healthy Lifestyle:

Basically, one would need to maintain a proper weight or body mass index of 21-24 to have a reduced risk of cancer. To achieve this, a proper diet must be observed consistently along with sports activities. As much as possible, it is recommended to eat more fruits and vegetables and less red meat.

At all costs, processed meat and high levels of sweet foods must be avoided. One should also minimize alcohol intake, with the suggested amount of only 1-2 glasses per day. These recommendations must be taken very seriously, especially in people who have a high risk of developing cancer.

Effect of Sports on the Immune system:

Your body will become more resistant to diseases with a much healthier immune system in place with the help of sports and regular exercises. When your immune system, cell development, metabolism, and other bodily systems are regular and working, the chances of developing cancer will be reduced.

Studies Prove Reduced Cancer Risk:

Numerous experiments and research studies have shown that cancer can indeed be prevented by engaging in an active lifestyle. Studies prove that regular exercise reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.

Another study from the University of Southern California proved that physical movements used in exercises like swimming, running, and aerobics are beneficial to prevent breast cancer.

Exercise Program Preferences In Cancer Patients:

You need not be a professional athlete to perform an exercise; you can perform any sport that you feel like doing. Even with the diverse preferences of people, there are different types of sports for everyone. If you fancy social interaction, it is always advisable for you to join sports teams such as volleyball, basketball, football, or baseball.

For those who enjoy spending time with nature, you are most likely to enjoy hiking, jogging, and cycling. Stationary exercises such as yoga and tai chi also prove to be very beneficial, because they focus on respiration, mental balance, flexibility and overall body coordination. Whatever it is that you choose to partake in, just make sure that it allows you to use the body to its full capacity while you are having fun.

Research about the effects of a balanced exercise program in the rehabilitation, prevention and the impact it has on the immune system is still in its initial phase. Although, it is going to be one of the most active areas of the sports medicine research in the coming decade.

Conclusion:

The earlier you participate in sports, the healthier you become. Engaging in regular physical activity keeps your body fit at the same time expelling sweat that contains waste products. Therefore, with regular exercise, there will be a significant decrease in the risk of developing many types of cancers.

References:

  1. Exercise for cancer patients: a new challenge in sports medicine
  2. Physical activity and cancer
  3. American College of Sports Medicine roundtable on exercise guidelines for cancer survivors.
  4. Exercise for Cancer Patients

Dr. Adem Gunes Dr. Adem Gunes has built the world’s largest database of scientifically tested natural substances with proven effects in cancer treatments. In 2009, he was appointed as the Chief Physician of ProLife Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, and played a key role in the establishment of the research laboratory. He is also the co-founder of the first Austrian hyperthermia center. Now, Dr. Adem works closely with cancer patients from around the world (including Germany, Thailand, Dubai) to recommend them a complementary cancer clinic or to create a personalized care plan for patients to follow at home.

Exercise – Important For The Breast Cancer Recovery Process

Exercise for Breast Cancer RecoveryLack of exercise is not what caused your cancer, so relax. If that were the case, the cancer rates would be so much larger. However, EXERCISE is very important to the recovery process and is also helpful in bringing the best attitude forward for the healing process. Coming eyeball to eyeball with cancer changes the perspective of quality of life. Thus, most of us are willing to do things for our own good in ways that we were not willing to before. Some of us love to EXERCISE and can’t wait to get to the gym or on our mountain bike. Others of us hate EXERCISE and have to be forced into doing it. I would wager that those of us who hate EXERCISE are EXERCISING for the wrong reasons and doing particular EXERCISES that we hate. So there are two goals here. First, discover an exercise you like or can tolerate because you feel good afterward. Second, set up your goal for your success.

If you are still in treatment your energy is lower but sitting or staying in bed all day only causes the toxins to build up. Walk for 10 minutes, or try walking 5 minutes a few times a day. Stretch. Lie in bed and move your body gently. Breathe. Yes, breathing is a form of exercise and Breast Cancer Yoga has a wonderful breathing CD. As you begin feeling better try Breast Cancer Yoga’s exercises for Yoga that are designed just for you, gentle lymphatic stretching. Get out of the house if even to just sit on the porch. Being outside moves your cells and allows them to enjoy fresh air versus the stale air from your AC or furnace. Listen to music and imagine yourself dancing to it and then gently move your muscles as if your muscles are dancing.

Post-treatment allow yourself to build up to 30 minutes of exercise a day. Start by doing 15 minutes, five days a week, then increase to two days for 3O minutes and continue to build up from there. Even though the lack of EXERCISE did not cause your cancer, let me be clear, EXERCISE, whether you like it or not, is important to your health. Thus, establish an EXERCISE habit as soon as possible after treatment so that it becomes a part of your new healthy lifestyle. The only rule needed is to EXERCISE at least thirty minutes a day whether you like it or not. The simplest way is to walk. Other than a good pair of shoes, walking EXERCISE does not require anything else and almost everyone can do it. If you can’t walk, then you need to discover other ways to EXERCISE. Stretching is a good choice and it does not require any fancy equipment. Yoga is also a great choice because it allows your body to detox the lymph system allowing those mutant cells to keep moving out of your body rather than getting stagnant and begin to build new tumors. Learning to make EXERCISE a part of your daily routine is a very important part of self-care. The goal is to EXERCISE more days a week than not. EXERCISE will help you stay flexible and healthy as you age. It is simple. The only goal is to do it. Don’t do it to lose weight, do it because you love yourself and because you are important.

Family members, it is not only important that you support your family member in an EXERCISE routine but that you too stay healthy by finding an EXERCISE activity that you enjoy and get out there and do it. Making EXERCISE a family affair will make it something fun and something to look forward to.

Last, when you get bored, change it out. If you get sick and can’t for a few days, get right back out there. If you miss a day, dance inside for 15 minutes anyway. MOVE your body as much as you can everyday.

Featured Photo Source: St. Louis Dispatch

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

Exercise! It’s Important For Cancer Survivors and Thrivers

Yoga On The Lawn With Diana Ross, Breast Cancer Survivors & Family Members.

Yoga On The Lawn With Diana Ross, Breast Cancer Survivors & Family Members.

By: Brian D. Lawenda, MD, Clinical Director, 21st Century Oncology &  www.1UpOnCancer.com.

Almost every opportunity I get, I take the time to sit down with my active cancer patients & thrivers and ask them ‘how are you feeling?’

…The number one thing I often hear is ‘I have no energy’ or ‘I’m tired all the time.’

Although potentially serious causes first need to be evaluated and addressed by your doctors, feeling tired during and after cancer treatment (also known as “cancer related fatigue” or CRF) is often a result of the cancer or the effects of treatment on your body. CRF is one of the most common and distressful symptoms our patients face, and it can persist for months to years after treatment. Did you know that one of the most effective ways to fight and reverse CRF is with exercise? Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

No one knows precisely how exercise is able to help you fight CRF. The most likely theory is that exercise reduces inflammation and free radicals in the body (by lowering levels of inflammatory proteins, called “cytokines”), both of which seem to increase the severity and risk of CRF.

Sadly, many patients and physicians feel that once you have been diagnosed with cancer there is no point in focusing on starting healthful lifestyle habits (i.e. smoking cessation, eating healthfully, weight loss if overweight, etc.)…after all, the ‘damage has already been done’, right?

NOT TRUE. Increasingly, researchers are proving that this fatalistic approach is absolutely wrong, particularly when it comes to not getting adequate physical activity.

Studies show that physical activity not only improves your overall health, but can reduce your risk of a cancer recurrence (or even dying from cancer) after treatment.

How many of your doctors have told you about the remarkable effects of exercise in fighting cancer? My guess is not many. You might want to inform them that credentialed research has found that by simply walking 3-4 total hours per week a breast cancer thriver can reduce their risk of a recurrence by up to 60%; this risk reduction is not unique to breast cancer.

An added benefit of exercise is that it will reduce your risk of developing future cancers. Unfortunately, just because you’ve had one cancer doesn’t mean you are out of the woods for developing a different one in the future. I have treated too many patients who have had more than one cancer in their lifetime.

While we are still learning exercises’ role in reducing the development, growth or recurrence of cancer, it seems that at least some of the anti-cancer effects have to do with numerous beneficial hormonal, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative changes that occur in the body from exercise and weight loss.

How much exercise do you need?

The majority of experts recommend that your goal be to get at least 150 minutes each week (30 minutes per day, 5 days per week) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e. brisk walking) and at least 2-3 sessions of strength training per week (i.e. weights, resistance exercises.)

New information has come out recently that is also important to know: it’s not enough to only be physically active just once a day for 30 minutes.

We now know that the amount of time we spend each day being inactive (i.e. watching TV, sitting for prolonged periods of time) also increases our risk of cancer growth, recurrence, and death. So, at the very least, get up and do something active every hour.

The health benefits of physical activity extend well-beyond cancer:

  • Reduced risk of dying early from other medical conditions
  • Improved quality of life
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved muscle strength and flexibility
  • Improved bone density
  • Improved cardiovascular health
  • Improved immune function
  • Reduced stress, anxiety and depression

Need motivation to get your activity levels up?

I’m a big fan of using a gadget called a “pedometer.” You can clip these to your

waist or wear them on your wrist, and they will count the steps or activity you do through the day. Studies show that most people think they are far more active than they actually are. Using a pedometer is enlightening, as it doesn’t lie. When a person wears a pedometer, researchers have found that activity increases by over 25%. To maintain healthful fitness levels, a goal of 10,000 steps (approximately 5 miles) per day is recommended.

It is smart to be cautious before starting an exercise regimen if you’ve had cancer as you may have new treatment-related side effects or limitations (i.e. lymphedema, neuropathy, limitations in range of motion.) That said, most experts agree that exercise is very safe during and after treatment as long as you are careful. If you have any questions or concerns about what kind of exercise is appropriate and safe for you, discuss this with your doctors. You may also want to work with a fitness professional (i.e. trainers, therapists, cancer rehabilitation programs) to help design an exercise program specifically tailored to you. Make sure that you investigate their credentials first, as it is important that they have experience working with clients who have a history of cancer.

So, what are you waiting for… just do it!

Available Exercise Resources For Breast Cancer:
Restorative Yoga For Breast Cancer Recovery: Gentle Flowing Yoga For Breast Health, Cancer Related Fatigue and Lymphedema Management

Founder of  1UpOnCancer.Com

Rachel Pappas is breast cancer survivor. She is the founder of www.1UpOnCancer.com. And the author of Hopping Roller Coasters, which tells the story of her and her daughter, both diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

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