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Friday, August 10, 2012

"Let's Get Physical, Physical"

Huntington Beach, CA 2012


I have blogged random thoughts about everything from travels, friendship, moving, writing, publishing, Israel, beauty. I wrote several blogs about women's health issues--from heart attacks to cancer--and when I recently received an email from someone who had read my blogs regarding cancer, it brought back flashbacks of a dear friend of mine who died last year, of Rob's best friend's wife who died two years ago; and of several friends who have survived ... cancer.  The C word.  Even Olivia Newton-John, the beautiful singer of "Let's Get Physical" is a cancer survivor.  Research continues, support groups are bountiful, and there are people like David Haas who dedicate their lives to this field.

I've never had a guest on my blog before, but when David wrote and asked if he could share an article on my blog, I was delighted.  Joining the organization in 2011, David is a cancer support group and awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In addition to researching the many valuable programs available to the site's visitors, David often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the MCA, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer, while creating relationships with similar organizations.  Here is one on his articles.

Utilizing Exercise for Cancer Patients

Many cancer patients find a desire to live a better lifestyle not only to survive the disease but also to live longer after recovering.  From the time of diagnosis, exercise can help cancer sufferers to deal with the stress, anxiety and depression that come with cancer.  Exercise that also works on the relaxation of the mind, such as yoga is especially beneficial.  Furthermore, physical fitness can help regain appetite that is often lost during treatment of cancer.

The type of exercise undertaken is highly dependent on how cancer has affected the patient.  Some days, the cancer sufferer may not feel well enough to do any physical activity especially while undergoing treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation that cause high levels of fatigue; however, the patient should try to exercise as regularly as possible as even a few minutes of exercise is better than none.  Reports show that studies of numerous types of cancer have shown that obesity reduces survival time after cancer treatment and increased chances of recurrence.

Exercise can be broken down into four categories: aerobic, strength training, balance, and stretching.  A cancer patient, whether in the treatment stage, remission or even just diagnosed, should cover each of these areas.  Although at times the cancer sufferer may not feel up to doing much, just 10-minute blocks of exercise throughout the day can be highly beneficial.

Aerobic exercise is particularly useful t feel better during treatment.  This can be something as simple as walking, an exercise which can be practiced immediately after undergoing treatment. When combined with strength training, the body decreases body fat and builds lean muscle most efficiently.

Strength training is highly important for cancer sufferers who are undergoing chemotherapy, commonly used for the treatment of mesothelioma, because it causes a loss of bone density and muscle.  Through weight training, cancer sufferers are able to increase muscle in order to maintain bone density.  They should consult their doctor before beginning a regimen.

A sense of balance may be slightly impaired by medications, making falls more likely.  Chemotherapy patients especially run the risk of breaking their more fragile bones.  There are very simple exercises that can improve balance and can be completed even on days when the cancer patient has little energy.  Such exercises include balancing on one leg or a grapevine moving by crossing one leg in front of the other.

Too much bed rest can lead to stiff joints among other problems.  Stretching relieves this discomfort while providing the body with gently exercise.  It can also help to stretch areas that have developed a weakness due to the treatment such as the rotator cuff in breast cancer patients who have undergone mastectomies.

I want to thank David Haas, for all the work he does with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.  You can read more of David's blogs at www.mesothelioma.com

As we enjoy the last days of summer, let's get physical and connect with those around us.  A smile, a kind word, sharing valuable information with those in need.  You are God's hands, eyes, heart.  We were created to get physical.
Oceans of blessings,
Sharon