To be physically active or not to be physically active? For the cancer patient or survivor this can be a recurring question. The American Cancer Society (ACS) suggests that adults receive 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week. But what can the cancer patient or survivor expect from engaging in moderate to vigorous activity?

Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund published research on the benefits of exercise for cancer survivors and those currently in treatment. Through their studies they determined that exercising during or after treatment can lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, and increase bone mineral density. They also determined that those who were currently receiving treatment experienced fewer side effects from treatment, less nausea and improved quality of sleep.

Since engaging in physical activity has been shown to boost the immune system, those individuals who are exercising regularly lower their risk of cancer recurrence.

The effects of exercise do not stop at physical benefits. According to the same research by Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund those who choose to exercise can also receive mental and emotional benefits. During their research they discovered those who exercise during and after treatment reported improved emotional well-being, increased quality of life, less anxiety and improved memory.

You may be asking, what does the research say about survival after diagnosis? In 2005, a study titled Physical Activity and Survival After Breast Cancer Diagnosis was published by the American Medical Association. During the study, researchers observed 2987 female breast cancer survivors between the years of 1984 until 2002. From their findings the researchers suggest that physical activity after breast cancer diagnosis may reduce the risk of death from the disease. During their study it was found that the greatest benefit was seen in women who performed 3 to 5 hours of walking per week at an average pace.

As you can see the benefits of exercise are endless. If you wish to know more about exercise, specifically Walking, join TurningPoint on June 19th at Abernathy Greenway for a walk and learn style class.

Online guidelines.  (2012). Nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors. CA Cancer J Clin, 62:242-274.

Holmes, M. D., Chen, W. Y., Feskanich, D., Kroenke, C., & Colditz, G. (2005). Physical Activity and Survival After Breast Cancer Diagnosis. American Medical Association, 2479-2486.

Wharton, M. (2015). The Benefits of Exercise After Getting Diagnosed with Cancer. Cancer Prevention and Treatment Fund, 1-4.