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The benefits of exercising extend beyond weight management and a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is an important part of cancer treatment. New research has shown that exercise during cancer treatment is not only safe and possible, but it can help improve how you function and increase your quality of life. Too much rest can lead to loss of body function, muscle weakness and reduce range of motion.
The American Cancer Society says during cancer treatment, regular exercise may help you:
Before beginning an exercise program, talk to your doctor to determine an exercise plan that is best for you. The type of cancer you have, your treatment and stamina will determine your fitness ability.
The National Comprehensive Cancer Network recommends breaking up your exercise into three 10-minute walks during the day. You can also listen to music to make walks more enjoyable, invite a friend to exercise with you, or enroll in a yoga class to keep your body strong.
As you begin to exercise start slowly, work at your own pace and proceed with caution -- if you try to do too much, you may become exhausted and discouraged. If you have any pain, tightness or shortness of breath, stop exercising and talk to your doctor.
Keep in mind there are other forms of physical activity you can do like gardening, cleaning the house or swimming to get your body moving. Many hospitals and health clubs also offer exercise classes suited for people with cancer.
If you find it difficult to exercise because you often feel tired and fatigued, focus on:
Whatever activity you choose, listen to what your body tells you and make time to rest.
Learn more about cancer support services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.
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