Study Highlights Benefit of Regular Exercise During Cancer Care


A documentary from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, called Exercise and Cancer, focuses on the use of targeted exercise for cancer patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy.

According to the Exercise Medicine Research Institute’s co-director, Robert Newton, the notion of having patients exercise during cancer treatment came from oncologists. These doctors observed that their patients often became too weak to fight their disease.

Newton and his colleagues wondered whether a tailored exercise routine during cancer therapy could boost patient energy, and ward off physical decline. So, they designed a study to satisfy their curiosity.

The researchers enrolled 38 cancer patients undergoing treatment, and gave each a program of regular physical activity. They exercised on their treatment days, and on three more days of the week as well.

As the study progressed, participants seemed to experience fewer of the typical chemotherapy side effects, especially less fatigue and nausea—and physicians were astonished at how well their patients were doing. The workouts also helped the participants maintain muscle mass, something most cancer patients lose at a rate of about 10 to 15 percent.

“We now have a growing number of research studies showing that if people hit a certain level of physical activity, which is relatively modest…they’ll more than double their chances of surviving cancer,” said Newton. “The benefit, in terms of muscle mass, is absolutely extraordinary, because we know there’s no pharmaceutical intervention that can actually stop the decline in muscle mass. The only thing that will do it is highly targeted, prescribed, tailored exercise.”

Source: Mercola Fitness
Photo credit: Fort Rucker


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