Celebrating National Cancer Survivor Day

ImageI was recently approached by Melanie Bowen, an awareness advocate for natural health and cancer cure initiatives. She is from Chicago, and has an undergraduate degree in nutrition and is currently a grad student gearing her studies towards exercise science concentrating in disease management and prevention. The passing of her grandmother is primarily what fuels her passion, however fitness and health have always been things that close to her. Her goal is to spread awareness of the importance of staying physically active during cancer. She writes articles on the side when she has time as an outlet from her course work.

Melanie requested for me to share this article, and in supporting her goodwill and to honor National Cancer Survivor Day, I am guest posting one of her articles. I will make a note that I do not specialize in cancer knowledge or treatments. I am simply supporting Melanie’s passion and loving-kindness, as myself and friends I have, have been touched by cancer in our families. Unfortunately, cancer is not too uncommon.

Thank you Melanie for connecting with me to spread this important knowledge! Here is her article:

Developing an Exercise Plan for Cancer Patients

by Melanie Bowen

Exercise for cancer patients has proven to produce remarkable benefits in people of all ages.  No matter what state of fighting cancer a person may be in, from recovery and remission to being in the midst of heavy treatments, exercise can make a big difference.  People who engage in fitness activities often experience stronger levels of energy that help them to function better and to gain more mobility. 

It is important for anyone who is chronically ill to speak to his or her personal physician or oncologist before beginning any new type of fitness routine.  Not only will a physician be able to help monitor the exercise goals, he or she can also provide valuable information to help the patient succeed in reaching new levels of health through natural methods of activity.

Every person experiences different side effects from cancer treatments.  Depending on the individual’s current health condition, it may be necessary to participate in a lower-impact type of exercise until more strength and better breathing ability is obtained.  Starting with one of exercises below, in an intensity level that is appropriate, can help anyone to begin a regular fitness routine.

Light Exercise

Breathing exercises are beneficial to people who are battling any type of cancer affecting the lungs. For example, patients undergoing treatment for mesothelioma may find it difficult to participate in rigorous activities, but engaging in a breathing exercise each morning can help to improve the lung function, blood flow and circulation, as well as reducing fatigue.

Breathing is relatively convenient in the sense that it can be performed anywhere and does not require any type of equipment. This type of exercise is also ideal for people who have problems concentrating and getting a good night’s rest. It may seem as if you are not doing much to consider it as exercise, but even light physical activity and exercise can be very beneficial in recovery.

Moderate Exercise

Water aerobics is a great form of moderate exercise for cancer patients because it offers resistance training while also not requiring too much strenuous activity.  For this reason, water aerobics is considered as a low impact exercise. People who have aching muscles and bones may also find that water aerobics is soothing and provides a more comfortable workout than doing an activity outside the water.  Also, water has the unique ability to disperse body heat to avoid overheating.

Signing up for a group water aerobics class is also an excellent way to meet new people, get social interaction and to gain new supportive friends.  Specific classes may be found at local fitness centers, wellness centers and through cancer rehabilitation programs.

 Advanced Exercise
Advanced forms of exercises are excellent for people who are strong and who are entering into the recovery stage of cancer.  This type of exercise will challenge a person physically and will also cause a light sweat to appear after ten to fifteen minutes of working out.  

The National Cancer Institute recommends physical strength training for people who have reached the advanced exercise stage.  Strength training using free weights and elliptical machines can help to tone and strengthen muscles, support joint mobility and increase balance.  Strength training is also helpful for reducing mental stress and anxiety that many people with cancer experience. It is important to remember to take things step by step and that it is indeed a gradual process towards a full recovery.

Moving Forward with Fitness Plans

If you are starting off at the light exercise level, be sure only to advance to the next stage with doctor approval.  Moving forward with fitness goals should be done cautiously and under the guidance of a professional medical provider.  Any type of exercise, from light stretching to high-impact cardio workouts can provide benefits if they are performed with consistency.

You can read more articles written by Melanie at http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/melanie/

I also invite you to check out Holistic Health Educator, Lou Corona. I just had the amazing opportunity to meet this almost 62 year old man (yet looks like he is 40!!) who is a survivor of various illnesses at a very young age, and has ever since been a motivational speaker, teacher and guide to help those who are suffering from ilnesses, including cancer. Check out his website here: http://loucorona.com/

I will also have the honor and pleasure to be speaking at the same conference, called Revitalized, as him in September. Details about this coming soon!!!

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