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Sunday, October 23, 2011

How Healthy Living Helps Fight Cancer

By Liz Davies, Guest Blogger

A cancer diagnosis can bring many changes. Among these is a tendency toward physical inactivity. It may seem natural to make a deliberate decision to “take it easy” while undergoing treatment, but the opposite is actually true. Several studies have shown a link between regular physical activity and an increased ability to battle cancer.

A study completed by the
American College of Sports Medicine suggests that cancer patients should be as active as possible while undergoing treatment and also after treatment. Staying active means losing excess weight, improving psychological outlook and maintaining mobility. It can also help keep the heart healthy and help ward off diseases like diabetes.

No one is suggesting that the way to achieve these positive ends is by signing up to compete in a triathlon. Instead work in tandem with a physician to craft a sensible workout program. The help of a qualified personal trainer may also be indispensable. They can design an exercise schedule that is both mindful and challenging.

Any workout program should combine at least three elements:
Stretching, cardiovascular activity and weight training. Stretching helps improve mobility and helps to increase range of motion. It can also be a soothing occupation. A yoga class might be the perfect answer or perhaps simply completing a few minutes of stretching before a workout is the way to go. Cardiovascular activity does not have to be highly vigorous to be effective. Try a walk at a slightly elevated pace three to five times a week, a half hour to one hour each time. Swimming, running and biking are also excellent cardio options. Strength training is important for everyone, men and women. It adds lean muscle mass and reduces the risk for osteoporosis. Plus, weight training makes muscles stronger and better able to cope with everyday life. Lifting enormous weights is never mandatory. Start out with cans of soup if necessary and build up from there.

Keep a workout diary and set appropriate goals. This can be as simple as obtaining a notebook in which will be recorded the date, type and duration of each workout. Track progress any way that makes sense. Perhaps this is taking measurements of certain body parts like the waist, hips and thighs. Maybe it is simply tracking weight. Another good measurement is distance. Is that half mile walk now one and-a-half miles? That’s an achievement! Look back through the diary to gain motivation and see just how much progress has been made.

Living a healthy lifestyle is a great way to boost positive endorphins, lose weight and feel empowered. With the help of a physician it is possible to craft an exercise program that is both appropriate and inspirational. These ideas and tips are great for people with all types of cancer such as
breast cancer, lung cancer and rare forms like testicular mesothelioma.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.

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