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Fight Cancer With Exercise

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As a Cancer Exercise Specialist, I primarily work with clients who have completed treatment and wish to regain their physical strength and energy. I recently had a question about the importance of being active during treatment.

Dealing with a diagnosis you never thought you would hear and coping with the vast amounts of information that often requires quick action makes this time challenging and very scary. Staying active is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re already feeling physically and emotionally drained. However, there are some good reasons to commit to some form of activity during treatment:

  • Exercise helps the lymph get rid of toxins. The lymphatic system is a parallel system to the cardiovascular system. The purpose of the lymphatic system is to remove waste and toxins from your body. Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump to transport toxins out of the body. One of the easiest and best ways to increase lymph flow is to exercise your body. The squeezing action of muscle contraction helps the lymph carry away all the waste products our body produces or absorbs on a daily basis. Targeted activity keeps the lymphatic system in top form.
  • Exercise hides good hormones. When you exercise regularly, your body releases endorphins, commonly known as the “feel good” hormones. These particular hormones lift your spirits at a time when you may not be feeling as positive as you would like.
  • Exercise gives you that extra bit of energy to get through your treatment plan. This energy comes from a different source than endorphins.
  • exercise strengthens. One of the top reasons for including regular exercise in your treatment plan is to regain the power and control you may have lost when you were diagnosed. Many of the decisions you must make – from dealing with the diagnosis to accessing treatment options – are often outside of your control. Scheduling regular exercise will instill a sense of empowerment and reinvigorate your resolve, helping you reclaim a part of your life that was quickly swept away.
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I’m not saying that getting up and moving at a time when your physical and mental energy levels are likely to be at their lowest will be easy. However, if you plan your workout by marking it up with all of your other appointments on your calendar, you might be surprised at how exercise can help normalize your day. Even if you’ve never been an active person, do something as simple as go for a walk alone or with a friend. A small step can make a big difference.

Thanks to Diane Hernden

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