Connecting with our patients through exercise

Our first guest blogger, David Haas of the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, shares an article he wrote on how physical fitness and sports can help cancer patients.  I think the part on being involved in a community setting is particularly poignant.  Yoga class, apart from physical activity, can also provide a sangha, or a supportive community setting, where people can connect with one another.  Of course, yoga has also been used as preventative medicine for cancer and other ailments as well.  Enjoy!

Fun Sporting Activities Provide an Enjoyable Fitness Workout for Cancer Patients

Sports are a great way for people with cancer to get involved socially and to get the exercise that can help them to fight the disease.  Mesothelioma cancer, and any other cancer, can affect the body in severe ways. It is vital that people who are battling this disease try to get regular amounts of exercise on a weekly basis.

Medical researchers have proven repeatedly that when a person is able to incorporate exercise into his or her normal routine, the individual will have better circulation, stronger heart, and stronger muscles. Increased physical strength is often just the thing that many people who have cancer need in order to withstand long months of cancer treatments.

When a person makes a commitment to begin a new physical fitness routine, try mapping out a weekly schedule of fitness events or activities. Writing down the fitness times will help an individual to remain committed to the routine and also to be reminded of any physical fitness goals that are set.  

Including sports as a main activity may be ideal for many people who have cancer. Sports are an ideal way for people who are ill to socialize and connect with others. When a person is going through constant rounds of chemo or radiation, it can be easy to become depressed and listless. Getting in regular amounts of exercise and social activity will help to provide coping measures.

Physical sports played with family or friends can be a great way to laugh, let off steam, and get active. This can result in a much needed stress reliever, as well as resulting in increased amounts of energy from the physical exercise. Basketball, softball, volleyball, and tennis are fun and interactive activities that provide a great way to enjoy exercise.

Physical fitness routines, when monotonous, can quickly grow boring and the person may lose interest in activities quickly. Combining exercise with socialization helps to keep a person interested in getting active. This can lead to an increased quality of life and a healthier person who is able to face serious cancer treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Other sporting events that can be fun to participate in for cancer patients, or people who are recovering from cancer, include running, rowing, golf, and bowling. Because every person is different, every single one of these activities may not appeal to the same person. However, people can choose a few sporting activities they enjoy the most and alternate participating in these sports as often as they like.

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports has comprehensive information on how to begin a solid fitness program. Data is also provided to help people with cancer to create a routine that they can slowly progress with and build upon.

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