Staying active and incorporating fitness into your daily routine may help you feel energized and motivated as you battle mesothelioma. Taking a few minutes out of your day to walk, stretch, or practice mindful breathing can have a positive effect on your overall health. Taking care of your overall well-being may help your body react more effectively to treatment. Learn about the link between mesothelioma and fitness below.
Can Exercise Improve My Mesothelioma Prognosis?
Many of us associate exercise with decreasing the risks of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. It turns out that exercise can even be beneficial to those with terminal cancer.
Researchers have found that exercise can help boost the immune system to fight off cancer and keep your body healthy enough to withstand mesothelioma treatments.
Exercising while battling mesothelioma may:
- Decrease the risk of fatigue, nausea, neuropathy, osteoporosis, and lymphedema
- Decrease the risk of other types of cancer
- Improve balance and coordination
- Improve muscle strength and decrease muscle loss
- Improve sleeping patterns
Dr. Lee Jones, Director of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Cardio-Oncology Research Program, conducts clinical trials to see how exercise can improve a cancer prognosis.
Dr. Jones found that the combination of different cancer treatments (surgery, chemotherapy, radiation) may cause harm to the cardiovascular system. In particular, he learned that damage to the heart and muscles attached to the skeleton can cause a major decline in a patient’s ability to exercise and perform daily activities.
However, these negative effects can be reversed in those who participate in structured exercise training programs. The programs also focus on the therapeutic effects of exercise to prevent recurrence and help cancer drug therapies work more effectively.
Psychological Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Patients
In addition to the physical benefits of exercise, there are plenty of psychological benefits for cancer patients too.
Exerting energy through exercise releases endorphins to the brain. These neurotransmitters not only relieve physical pain but can reduce stress levels as well. Exercise also releases mood-regulating chemicals including dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.
Patients may experience a boost in overall happiness from the release of endorphins. Exercising can help patients feel accomplished, engaged, and hopeful despite their mesothelioma diagnosis.
In turn, physical exercise may decrease symptoms often associated with anxiety and depression.
Recommended Exercises for Mesothelioma Patients
There are several exercises that have physical and psychological benefits for mesothelioma patients.
It is important to note that every mesothelioma patient has different physical abilities depending on their specific diagnosis. Always consult with your mesothelioma doctor to determine what type of exercise regimen would work best for you.
Some exercises recommended for mesothelioma patients include:
- Balance exercises
- Breathing exercises
- Light aerobics
- Lightweight lifting
Staying Fit During Cancer Treatment
It is important to remember that your body is going through a lot during cancer treatment. When exercising during your battle with mesothelioma, listen to your body and rest when you need it. Rest is vital to your overall recovery.
Be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day and drink plenty of water during physical exercise. Make sure you are fueling your body with vitamins and nutrients through healthy meals.
Having a workout buddy to exercise with you can boost your productivity and encourage you to keep going. Call a friend or a family member to join you during your next exercise session.
It is okay if some days you are frustrated and feel like you do not have the energy to exercise. Keep progressing one day at a time, even if it feels like baby steps.
Download our free mesothelioma guide to learn how you can cope with cancer treatments. The help you need is just around the corner.