The following is a guest post by Diane Olson, M.B.A., ACE Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM Cancer Exercise Specialist and AIFI Older Adult Fitness Specialist at Zenergy.
Everyone agrees exercise is a healthy lifestyle choice. Did you know that mild physical activity is even more important if you face a cancer diagnosis?
Since 2005, evidence-based studies show exercise is a critical link in cancer recovery. It doesn’t matter if you have been recently diagnosed, you’re in treatment or you’re just six months out of completing treatment. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) strongly encourage exercise to reduce the risk of future tumor growth and help patients resume a full life.
In addition, the ACSM and ACS report that physical activity lessens depression, fatigue, insomnia and often reduces other side effects from cancer-related treatments.
One of the most crucial pieces of their research is a higher risk of cardiovascular disease after cancer therapy. The heart muscle, valves and electrical system take a huge hit during invasive treatments. Bottom line: Mild activity becomes even more critical.
And don’t think that you have to engage in intense high-interval training to get results. As cancer trainers, we are taught to design a client’s program to their energy level without affecting ports, balance concerns, bone density risks or other fears. Ten minutes of walking is a good start, and is often as much as many cancer patients can handle.
Since starting my personal training career in 1998, I have worked with many survivors. But this year, I saw an increase in clients with a recent diagnosis. Several of them have shared their experiences, which lead me to the American College of Sports Medicine certification on Exercise and Cancer Survivorship.
It is encouraging to know that 67% survive cancer recurrence. We only want that percentage to grow! Whether or not you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, a healthy dose of exercise can help.