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Guest Writer Liz Davies Weighs in on Running with Cancer

Run Past Cancer
Physical activity was once viewed as prevention only when it comes to cancer, as exercise for cancer patients was seen as too dangerous and counter-productive to health. A large number of studies are reversing this trend, with the major cancer research organizations calling for all cancer patients to avoid inactivity. More than a generic rule, guidelines have been developed to help doctors and patients utilize the benefits of exercise while keeping patients safe.

What Benefits Does Running Offer?
While guidelines promote moderate-intensity, aerobics for 150 minutes a week, this has been modified in several studies to good effect. All aerobic and anaerobic exercise will help manage common symptoms of cancer and treatment, as well as provide a higher chance of treatment success, longer life expectancy, and lower risk of recurrence.

Obviously, running will not be an option for some cancer patients, and others will need to work up to this level of activity. Once there, patients can expect the benefits to be stronger, though it is important to note that benefits will accrue from all forms of physical activity. In one study, breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy showed significantly lower levels of fatigue with the use of aerobic exercises, including walking, cycling and running. Vigorous exercise was shown in another study to reduce mortality for men with prostate cancer even further than moderate-intensity exercise.
Safety Comes First
Some types of cancer and certain kinds of treatment may contra-indicate running for fitness, which makes this a critical topic to bring up with the doctor. For those with experience, it is a safe and effective form of exercise, though over-exertion is still not advised. Patients with a lack of exercise history will benefit greatly from the guidance of a physical fitness professional trained to work with cancer patients. There are trainers with specialization with all types of cancers, including even rare forms like mesothelioma. They will be able to devise appropriate and enjoyable routines for each individual case that can ultimately build up to endurance running and other vigorous exercises.

The key to gaining the benefits of exercise is sticking with a regular workout program. Some people will need more motivation and others will have to start with the basics before progressing to even moderate-intensity aerobics. A personal trainer can help provide this motivation by making exercise more enjoyable, and including family or friends may be a critical part of establishing regularity. The benefits of running for cancer patients are too important to let this recommendation slide.
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. If you would like to contact her she can be reached at healthylizd@gmail.com


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