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Written on 9th August 2017 by Laura Magson

Boyes Turner previously published an article on how nutrition can assist lung cancer and mesothelioma patients with their day to day symptoms, a link to that article can be found here.

But did you know that a good exercise regime can also be beneficial to people undergoing chemotherapy treatment?

Chemotherapy can be extremely draining on patients both emotionally and physically.  Chemotherapy can also be very exhausting for family members and friends of cancer patients.

So why exercise?

Firstly, those who exercise regularly or partake in sports are more likely to be happier in their day to day lives. This is because exercise is scientifically proven to release endorphins in the brain that relieve stress and make you feel more relaxed.

Exercise can also boost your confidence when you achieve a “personal best” or see physical losses or gains in your weight. A boost in confidence can be helpful to cancer patients suffering from low self-esteem following a cancer diagnosis and a course of chemotherapy.

Regular exercise can also improve your strength which in turn can help your body build up its natural defences against infections.

By living a healthy lifestyle you are more likely to be selected to participate in clinical trials which could help relieve symptoms, prolong life or lead to a remission of the cancer.

Regular exercise will help control your weight. This is important as weight gain during and after chemotherapy treatment can increase the risk of the cancer recurring.

Exercising for short periods, but on a regular basis, will keep your mind active and help you to focus on positive thoughts as opposed to your cancer and chemotherapy treatment.

Regular exercise will also assist with joint flexibility and help maintain muscle mass, both of which may become impaired by chemotherapy and surgery.

If you are interested in exploring the benefits of exercise when suffering from cancer, you should first speak to your treating consultant who will be able to advise the best exercise plan for you.

Having taken medical advice, continue to be mindful and listen to your body. If you are not someone who normally exercises regularly, then start slowly with light exercise at first. Your exercise sessions can increase as you get fitter.

It is also important to ensure you exercise at your own pace. If you experience any symptoms of sickness or pain, stop exercising immediately and seek assistance if necessary. If your treatment is making you feel especially tired, try exercising for a shorter amount of time and at a lower intensity, or leave exercising until the following day instead.

And remember exercise can be fun! Exercise does not all have to be heavy weights and lots of sweat. Something simple like a country walk with your children, a bike ride with your partner or a light game of football with your friends will all achieve your desired goals whilst allowing you to take your mind off of your treatment and spend time with your loved ones.