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By Kel Brianne

Exercise beneficial for those facing cancer

The most recent statistics suggest more than 1,685,210 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2016. With so many people learning they have cancer, living with the disease has become a hot topic in health and nutrition. More than ever, people want to know how they can play a part in their own health destiny. It's certainly no secret that going through a major health crisis such as cancer changes life as it once was. The treatment used against cancer is often harsh and unforgiving, taking its toll on the body. Research has found exercise to be a great tool to rebuild strength after treatment and to prevent recurrence.

A panel of experts in the areas of cancer, fitness, obesity and exercise training believe one of the most important messages for those affected by cancer is to avoid inactivity. The panel has gone as far as to suggest a formalized exercise routine be added to treatment protocols. Studies suggest not only is exercise a combatant of cancer, but it also has positive effects on quality of life for survivors.

With the number of cancer survivors growing daily in the United States, quality of life is an important factor to consider. Focusing on becoming healthier is a top priority among cancer survivors. Being an advocate for yourself while facing a serious health crisis can be extremely beneficial for both your mind and body. Quality of life is not simply about living, but living well. Exercise can help survivors achieve a better life post cancer.

In addition to the research currently supporting the benefits of exercise, there is also significant evidence that exercise is beneficial to the human psyche. In a recent article released by the Harvard Medical School, exercise is said to improve mood and sleep and to reduce stress and anxiety. An often overlooked aspect is that facing cancer is a major emotional and psychological jolt. Mood and stress can affect a person's ability to focus on healing as well as the motivation to be healthier both during and after cancer treatment.

These findings come at the perfect time. More Americans are battling cancer now than ever before. So, what should your response be? Start exercising! Start small, set goals, and stay motivated. The key is to get moving. Find a friend to help you along the way, or, if you are able, hire a personal trainer.

Ten simple ways to increase exercise as a current cancer patient or survivor:

  1. Park further away at the grocery store or restaurant.
  2. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  3. Do jumping jacks, lunges, or sit-ups during commercials while watching television.
  4. Go for a walk around the neighborhood.
  5. Join a gym or a fitness group.
  6. Swim laps in the pool or consider swimming lessons.
  7. Take a yoga class.
  8. Take up a hobby that encourages activity, like tennis or dancing.
  9. Get outside and do yard work.
  10. Sweep or mop the floors.

Whatever your specific motivation, make exercise a part of your daily routine. Instead of seeing exercise as an obligation, learn to enjoy it. If that is a bit of a stretch for you, treat exercise like you would a prescription and establish it as a habit. After all, research proves it to be a large factor in our health.

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