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Don’t Let Cancer Stop You

Por Carola Sixto -

Until recently, it was believed that cancer patients had to remain inactive. However, updated research shows that physical activity may help these patients feel better and maintain flexibility, among other benefits.
There are no excuses for not exercising. If movements don’t cause pain, tachycardia, or agitated breathing, cancer patients can improve their quality of life and physiological functions through regular physical activity. This is what recent research shows, according to the American Cancer Society. Too much rest can cause the loss of physiological functions, strength, and mobility in a person with a chronic condition. While 70% of patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation feel significant energy loss, without the practice of physical activity this energy decrease is even stronger due to the loss of muscle mass and flexibility.

A Personalized Plan
Before starting an exercise plan, each patient should consult a doctor in order to design a regimen that considers the patient’s condition and limitations. This is essential, says the American Cancer Society, in the case of patients receiving treatments that affect the lungs or heart.

• How to start: Begin your exercise program slowly. First, start with a warm-up for at least two or three minutes with exercises like: cringing your shoulders, raising your arms above your head, making moves with your feet, walking and lifting your knees. Stop if you start feeling tired. Only a few minutes of exercise per day will be more than enough. As your physical condition improves, you’ll be able to gradually increase the time of your exercise routine.

•  When to stop: Divide the duration of your exercise plan into short periods and rest at intervals. For example, if you’re going for a walk: walk 10 minutes and rest, and so on until you reach 30 minutes of exercising.

• What exercises to choose: In addition to aerobic exercises, be sure to include strength and flexibility exercises for large muscle groups. Resistance training also strengthens your muscles.

• Don’t forget about your joints: In each practice, add exercises to help improve the flexibility of your joints. Here are some examples: standing up, support your hands on a surface at the height of your hips, and tiptoe slowly. Keep that position for 5 seconds and then rest. Repeat five times. Another exercise: in the same position, with a leg bent backwards, stand on the tip of your foot (with the leg that is supporting your weight). Then, switch legs.

• How to end each session: Always cool down with stretching and flexibility exercises. Stretch for 15 or 30 seconds and then relax as you take a deep breath.

Besides the changes you’ll notice in your body, you will also feel the change in your spirit. Exercise renews our energy and makes us feel invincible. And that, certainly, is a great way of fighting cancer.


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