Strength Training and Cancer

One of the most difficult things about living with cancer and its treatments is fatigue. Most patients experience fatigue that goes beyond normal tiredness. It is an overwhelming feeling that prevents a person from even wanting to get out of bed. With fatigue, everything about life is more difficult, from the necessary things like going to treatment appointments to those things that give life meaning and joy, like spending time with family and friends.

Exercise of all types, but also strength training, has been proven to significantly reduce fatigue in cancer patients. According to research, those who exercise regularly experience between 40 percent to 50 percent less fatigue than those patients that are inactive. It may be difficult to overcome the hurdle of fatigue to begin exercising, but once you begin it makes a huge impact on reducing excessive and chronic tiredness. Another really important benefit of strength training for cancer patients is the prevention and reduction of muscle loss. It is not uncommon cancer patients to experience muscle loss. Even younger patients will lose muscle from the cancer and its treatments. Being active, and especially engaging in strength training activities, reduces muscle loss, prevents it, and can even build up muscle mass. Cancer patients often experience a lot of pain, which can seriously impact mobility and overall quality of life. Treatments for cancer, like surgery, can further limit mobility. Mobility is further affected by lost muscle mass. With impaired mobility it becomes more challenging to engage in the kinds of activities a person previously enjoyed and even to leave the house. Strength training can help by improving muscle mass,  reducing fatigue, increasing flexibility, and making it easier to get out, to enjoy life and being around other people.

Remember to take things at your own pace, ease into any exercise rountine, and ask for help.


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