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The Importance of Fitness when Dealing with Cancer

Post-diagnosis, most cancer patients reevaluate their life priorities. This list is always topped with doing everything that one can to have successful treatment, and to stop the cancer from returning. The best way to accomplish that goal is to get fit and stay that way. According to Dr. Matthew Hoffman or WebMD, exercise leads to a longer life and less recurrence of cancer. The latest research backs up this claim.

Living a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition, plenty of exercise and wise lifestyle choices can lessen the risk of getting cancer in the first place. The good news is that for those that have already lived through a diagnosis, those same principles can help you survive for a longer period of time and lessen the risk of the cancer returning. You can improve your prognosis, even if you have been diagnosed with heart, lung, breast or other cancers.  Although fitness will help anyone that has been diagnosed with cancers, someone diagnosed with breast cancer usually will be able to perform more exercises than one that has been diagnosed with a rare lung disease such as mesothelioma.  

Recent evidence suggests that breast cancer survivors have a lower rate of recurrence and live longer if they exercise. The same results have been shown in colorectal cancer survivors. Most survivors are willing to do anything and everything they can to stop the cancer from coming back. This includes focusing on weight control through consuming a healthy diet and exercising daily. Multiple studies show a link between being overweight and having a greater chance of cancer recurrence. The same studies show a lesser survival time for those that need to lose weight.

Everyone benefits from regular exercise, not just cancer survivors. However, cancer survivors seek to benefit the most from and increased level of activity. Benefits of regular exercise include weight loss, muscle gain, improved mood, memory and concentration, less fatigue and an increase in self-confidence. Exercising also lowers the risk of other diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, exercise is a great stress reducer, something many cancer survivors need!

Those that begin a regular exercise regimen shortly after diagnosis or treatment will reap these benefits early on. Although treatment can make you feel tired all the time, resist the temptation to stay sedentary. While an appropriate amount of rest is certainly needed, speak with your doctor about beginning an exercise plan and implement it as soon as it is safe to do so.

By: David Haas

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