Last week Dane’s blog looked at exercise as medicine. Today I will look more specifically at the role exercise has helping someone with a diagnosis of cancer and recovering from cancer.
Research shows the benefits of routine exercise on our health include a more resilient immune system, protecting against chronic disease and aiding in recovery from viruses and infection.
Research also shows that exercise benefits most people with cancer during and after treatment.
Being active while you are being treated or recovering from cancer can help manage the common side effects of treatment, speed up recovery and improve your quality of life. Side effects of cancer and treatment for cancer include fatigue, anaemia (low red blood count), mood changes, loss of muscle strength, loss of bone strength, lymphoedema, heart problems and quality of life.
Exercise helps improve physical function by strengthening muscles and bones, improving circulation, helping to maintain or achieve a healthy weight, and improving balance and mobility.
Exercise also helps improve self-esteem, and reduce stress and anxiety levels, and depression.
The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia recommends exercise be prescribed to all cancer patients and a standard part of their cancer care to help manage the effects of cancer and its treatment. The exercise should be tailored to suit the type and stage of cancer and any side effects.
This is where an accredited exercise physiologist comes in – they have the extensive training and expertise to appropriately prescribe exercise for people living with cancer.
Their role is to develop, deliver and evaluate safe and effective exercise interventions for people with acute and chronic medical conditions, injuries or disabilities such as heart disease, stroke, arthritis, obesity, neurological conditions, respiratory problems, diabetes, chronic pain, mental health conditions, post-operative rehab, cancer, osteoporosis as well as many others.
An exercise physiologist is the most appropriate health professional to develop a program based on the cancer and the physical limitations related to a particular cancer and treatment.