01 09 10 Tweet Dietitians Eat Chocolate Too: Guest Blogger Liz Davies: Running Benefits Cancer Patients

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guest Blogger Liz Davies: Running Benefits Cancer Patients

For many years, it has been commonly believe that those recently diagnosed with cancer or undergoing treatment for the disease should avoid intense exercise and instead spend as much time as possible resting. However, there is plenty of research that supports the idea that physical exercise, and especially running, can help patients recover from life threatening illnesses, relieve symptoms and help their mental outlook on life. It can also help patients to maintain a healthy weight and avoid a recurrence of cancer within the body. 

Relieving Symptoms:
Many of the symptoms associated with cancer treatment are just as debilitating as the actual illness itself. Chemotherapy and radiation can both cause nausea and a lack of appetite in patients. Physical exercise can help people with those symptoms to regain their appetite. Exercise like running will also help people to regain a libido after hormonal medicines or treatment reduces it significantly. Cancers like mesothelioma and lung cancer causes patients to focus on cardio exercises to increase lung capacity and running is an excellent way to fulfill those needs.

Weight Maintenance:
Both weight gain and weight loss is a troubling side effect of cancer. Some patients lose a significant amount of weight due to lack of appetite and muscle atrophy. Running can be a way to increase appetite and gain lean muscle in a healthy way for these cancer sufferers. On the other hand are patients who, largely due to inactivity and hormonal treatments, have gained a large amount of weight. Running, along with a healthy appetite, can help these patients to shed unwanted fat and raise their metabolism. This can help them to lose weight in the future and make their way to healthy weight maintenance.

Mental Outlook:
A routine of hospitals, doctors, treatments and pills can be both mentally exhausting and depressing. Fatigue and depression can both be reduced and even eliminated thanks to running. Running can help patients enjoy endorphins that raise their moods and help them to create a more positive outlook for the future. Even a training plan to begin running for a race can be a positive goal to work towards.

Clearly, running can do many positive things for those who are dealing with the news of cancer diagnosis, receiving treatment currently, or just want to recover after the fact. By relieving symptoms, helping weight maintenance and improving mental outlook, running is the perfect exercise for cancer patients.

Liz Davies is a recent college graduate and aspiring writer especially interested in health and wellness. She wants to make a difference in people’s lives because she sees how cancer has devastated so many people in this world. Liz also likes running, playing lacrosse, reading and playing with her dog, April.  Find her at  http://curiousmindmusings.blogspot.com/