Research now confirms what athletes such as distance runner Bob Tyson learned years ago after he refused to give up after being told he had cancer: exercise can help battle cancer.
For those diagnosed with cancer, exercise has helps to enhance physical fitness, improve stamina, works to relieve mental distress, increases tolerance for chemotherapy and other aggressive treatments and may increase the chances of survival with some types of cancer, such as colon, prostate and breast cancer.
Physical Fitness lessens muscle weakness and bone damage caused by chemotherapy.
By being physically fit, a cancer patient has the advantage of having developed stamina which alleviates the fatigue resulting from cancer treatments. Continued exercise also helps in the fight against muscle weakness throughout the body caused by chemotherapy. Importantly, it mitigates damage to the heart muscle from chemotherapy since the heart muscles are strengthened by regular physical activity. And, because bones are strengthened with exercise, the loss of bone density from chemotherapy is also reduced in a physically active person.
Exercising improves mental attitude
Because the fatigue and weakness caused by chemotherapy decrease when cancer patients exercise regularly, these people are less likely to feel discouraged about their condition. Exercise has been proven to alleviate anxiety and depression because it causes a release of feel-good endorphins or natural brain chemicals that enhance a person’s sense of well-being. Exercise helps to take people’s minds off their worries, lessening the negative thoughts that bring on depression and stress, two conditions that can be harmful.
Cardio and weight training help prevent other diseases and the reoccurrence of cancer
Both cardio and weight-bearing exercises should continue after a cancer patient enters remission because cancer survivors are at risk of other diseases including heart disease and diabetes. Not only does exercise help prevent the likelihood of contracting these diseases, but it has also been proven to be instrumental in preventing the reoccurrence of cancer. To maintain an exercise routine, a cancer survivor should engage in the whatever activities they enjoyed the most. If having an exercise partner is important, then setting up a routine with a friend or joining a gym or a running club are good ideas.
We all know that exercise is good for our bodies and our mental health. But sometimes, that knowledge isn’t enough to actually get you off the couch and into the gym. It can be hard to motivate yourself to lace up your sneakers and stick to a regular exercise regime. If you’ve been wanting to start exercising but are struggling to get there, use these four tips to help you finally find the motivation you’ve been looking for.
Find a buddy
Finding a gym partner will make it much easier to get yourself to the gym. You have someone else who is counting on you to show up, plus their company will help make the time spent at the gym more enjoyable as you have a companion to chat with. Make sure you choose a partner that you enjoy spending time with and someone who will push you towards your goals.
Join a gym you like
If you enjoy swimming, join a pool that has a pool. If you enjoy going to fitness classes, find a gym that offers those classes. While these memberships may be more expensive than a bare-bones gym, you’ll go more if you enjoy the workout you’re getting. You want a gym that you feel comfortable and accepted in so you can make it a place you want to spend time at.
Switch-up your routine
Going to the gym and doing the same routine time after time would make anyone unmotivated to go to the gym. Try doing the same exercises but in a different order, or swap one exercise with a comparable alternative. If you usually do bench presses, try doing them on an incline instead of a flat bench. Your body will thank you too; new workouts will target different muscle groups, which may help you see more progress.
Track your progress
Not seeing any progress easily kills off what motivation you did have to go to the gym. If all the exercise isn’t paying off, then what’s the point? Most likely, you are making progress, but it happens slowly enough that you don’t notice it. After the gym, write down your workouts, your weight and the goal you’re working towards in a journal or on your phone. Having a record will help you to see how your endurance and strength has increased and the weight you’ve lost.
About Robert J. Winn
Robert J. Winn is a family physician based in Philadelphia, PA. For over fifteen years Dr. Winn has worked to provide care to vulnerable populations that face barriers to healthcare access. As a medical professional, Dr. Winn understands how important fitness is to one’s health. On a personal level, he also understands what it’s like to be overweight, so he is able to empathize with patients who struggle to live healthier lives.
Robert J. Winn’s fitness journey started relatively later in life. Although he helped other people become healthy and stay that way, Dr. Winn had fallen victim to a situation that many busy professionals find themselves in. At age 45 he was overweight and didn’t make time for daily exercise. Toward the end of 2014, Dr. Winn realized that something had to change. He had trouble fitting into the clothes he owned, and activities like walking up a flight of stairs exhausted him. Dr. Winn made the decision to turn his health around by devoting himself to fitness.
One of the most important aspects of being a physician is making sure that patients are taking the necessary steps to remain healthy. However, Dr. Winn was not following his own recommendations. In order to remedy this situation, he joined Unite Fitness, a local fitness studio. The Unite Fitness philosophy of “Heart, Muscle, Mind” resonated with Dr. Winn. With the help of Coach Gavin, the founder of the studio, Dr. Winn was able to shed 50 pounds over the course of six months.
Although Robert J. Winn started his fitness journey by attending a fitness studio and receiving instruction from the staff, he realizes that many people, including the majority of his patients, may not have the resources to purchase a membership or home fitness equipment. It’s important to remember, though, that getting in shape does not have to cost an exorbitant amount of money. In fact, you don’t have to join a gym or purchase anything to get started. Dr. Robert J. Winn recommends that patients begin by walking 30 minutes each day. Also, on the internet, you can find numerous free resources like exercise tips and guides that you can use to workout at home in your living room.
One way that Dr. Winn stayed motivated in the beginning of his fitness journey was by sharing updates on social media. His friends and family saw his progress and encouraged him along the way. Plus, patients were able to witness the transformation take place firsthand. As a result, many patients were inspired to get in shape themselves. Sharing his fitness journey on social media also encouraged Dr. Winn to work harder to lose weight because he didn’t want to let his patients down. He wanted to show them that it was possible for anyone to get in shape and become healthier as long as they are dedicated and work hard.
Being overweight leads to many health issues such as depression, high cholesterol, and diabetes just to name a few. Exercising on a daily basis can prevent or eliminate these types of difficulties. Dr. Robert J. Winn uses his personal fitness journey as an example that patients can relate to. Today he feels stronger, healthier, and happier as a result of his active lifestyle and healthy diet. He continues to encourage his patients to take small fitness steps so that they can live life to the fullest with fewer health issues holding them back.