According to a Mayo Clinic study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, regular exercise has been shown to reduce the recurrence of breast or colon cancer by up to fifty percent. This is just another study that has shown how effective exercise is for the recovery of cancer patients.
The study was a part of a series of investigations that looked at exercise habits among cancer patients. The researchers in the study discovered patients who regularly participated in exercise before they were diagnosed were more likely to exercise than those who had not done so previously. Daily activities such as gardening were considered to be sufficient exercise. Researchers also discovered patients took exercise advice much more seriously when it was directly advised from their oncologist. However, none of the oncologists who were studied had given exercise advice to their patients.1
“As doctors, we often tell patients that exercise is important, but to this point, nobody had studied what patients know about exercise, how they feel about it and what tends to get in the way,” says lead author Andrea Cheville, M.D., of Mayo Clinic’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.2
“There was a real sense of ‘What I do every day, that’s my exercise,'” says Dr. Cheville, noting most patients didn’t realize daily activities tend to require minimal effort. “Most were not aware that inactivity can contribute to weakening of the body and greater vulnerability to problems, including symptoms of cancer…Generally, patients are not being given concrete advice about exercise to help them maintain functionality and to improve their outcomes,” Dr. Cheville says.3
Exercise provides many benefits to cancer patients. It can improve a patient’s mobility, and as a result he or she can become more active and enjoy activities outside the home, rather than being isolated indoors. Exercise can also improve overall feelings of strength and physical safety, ease fatigue often associated with cancer, and improve sleep quality.4
The researchers from this study plan to find a way to effectively convey the message about exercise’s benefits to cancer patients, and how it can provide some symptom relief and even enhance recovery. This is good news considering many cancer patients experience limitations in what they can do and anything that can naturally help improve their quality of life is beneficial.
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