If you or anyone you know is undergoing treatment for mesothelioma lung cancer, you are probably aware of the effects of cancer treatment. Food may be more difficult to eat. Fatigue can settle in. In a word, patients often feel “icky” during this time.
Because it’s winter, people in the northern latitudes might start to think that now is a good time to rest and settle in. At Mesothelioma Circle, we agree that rest is a good thing. However, we also believe that exercise and physical activity are important, with or without mesothelioma.
Why is exercise vital for mesothelioma patients?
Considering how physically taxing cancer and its treatments are, it is understandable why mesothelioma patients are often not able to fathom the idea of penciling in exercise. However, experts from the American College of Sports Medicine suggest that physical activity does not cease to be essential just because of a cancer diagnosis. In fact, it may become even more important.
“Our hope is that there will be more conversations about the need for formalized exercise programs for patients during and right after treatment – programs that will be the cancer equivalent to cardiac rehab,” scientist Kathryn Schmitz, from the University of Pennsylvania’s Abramson Cancer Center, told the National Cancer Institute in 2010.
She pointed out that exercise can have a positive impact on two areas for cancer patients: fatigue and physical functioning. Both of these dimensions of health can affect mesothelioma patients’ quality of life.
Additionally, certain cancer treatments may alter the body’s physical appearance. A fitness regimen may help rectify some of these changes and improve a patient’s self-esteem. Also, if body wasting is an issue, certain exercises can preserve or build lean muscle mass.
Experts from the American Cancer Society have listed several other potential benefits, including:
- Lower risks for heart disease, weakening bones, blood clots, anxiety or depression.
- More independence to perform everyday tasks.
- Less nausea.
It is still possible to exercise in the dead of winter
With the winter solstice approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, exercise may be the last thing on anyone’s mind. Still, there are fun ways to work out during the chillier season.
If the weather is not too severe, you can walk the dog, go ice skating or take up skiing. If the front of your house needs maintenance, try shoveling the snow.
In case the cold outside makes these activities impossible, you can still get active indoors. While watching TV, you can perform a few leg lifts or sit-ups. For an aerobic exercise, you can put some fast-paced music on the stereo and start dancing.
Household chores, such as vacuuming and dusting, can also get your blood pumping. Of course, if cleaning is not your idea of a good time, you could always head to the mall in order to enjoy some walking.
Tips before getting started
Although exercise is generally a good thing, your health may require you to make some adjustments. Before you consider exercising, ask your doctor about what would be appropriate. Together, you can discuss the effects of your medications, suitable levels of intensity and signs that you should stop your workout.