What is the importance of regular exercise for cancer recovery?
Here are some of the benefits of exercise for a cancer patient-
- It speeds up cell production
- It strengthens immune function
- It improves blood and lymph circulation which removes toxins from the body
- It leads to oxygenation of tissues
- It releases endorphins, prevents loss of muscle mass and bone density
- Stimulates the digestive system
- Keeps fat level low – many cancers are linked to obesity. .
- Breast cancer patients who walk 30 minutes a day. and take 5-6 servings of fruits everyday decrease the risk of cancer recurrence by a significant amount.
- It is believed that exercise decreases the chances of cancer relapse as well.
Often the process of cancer treatment leaves patients with a weakened lymphatic system. A weakened lymphatic system requires regular exercise, to successfully pump lymphatic fluid that removes toxins from the body.
Don’t overdo it!
Over exercising is to be avoided as it can lead to release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, that suppresses the immune system- leaving the patient in danger of fatigue, susceptibility to colds, fevers or the flu.
Excessive exercise creates catabolic stress- which is why marathon runners after running for more than two hours are more likely to fall ill due to immune-suppression.
Does rest help in cancer recovery?
Sleep for a recovering cancer patient is of paramount importance, during sleep the body undergoes repair, detoxes itself, and heals. Eight to ten hours of uninterrupted sleep is vital for cancer patients.
According to a research study conducted on Japanese women aged between 40 to 45 years- those who slept less than six hours a night had a higher risk of developing breast cancer.
Simple ways to sleep better at night
- Sleeping in total darkness is important as light during sleep interferes with the powerful anti-cancer enzymes naturally generated in your body called melatonin. The tumor growth in the body is restrained by the night time surge of melatonin in the body.
- Take one day of rest in a week.
- Take small naps throughout the day.
- A quiet and cool place is important to ensure the quality of sleep.
- Stay away from all digital devices as well as televisions one hour before sleeping.
Good dietary, exercise and sleep habits are crucial for having a healthy immune system. Exercise and rest increases the effectiveness of immune cells that fight cancer cells. Aim for 30 minutes of daily exercise and increased movement throughout the day along with 8 – 10 hours of deep sleep, for a stronger immune system.