There is a really great article on Science Daily today regarding the benefits of exercise for survivors of breast cancer.
As a personal trainer, I can find a reason that exercise is beneficial in any situation. But after reading this article, the benefits for cancer survivors are too numerous to ignore.
The Physical Cost of Battling Cancer
Fighting cancer is serious. These days, just about everyone has had a family member that has dealt with some form of cancer or another. And if you’re lucky enough to be a part of a cancer-free family, we all know people who have been forced to deal with cancer in some form or fashion.
I’m certainly no oncologist, but cancer treatment is rough. Between chemo, radiation, and the body fighting a battle within itself, a person fighting cancer is going to get beat down. And for those that win the battle, they likely have to deal with some common symptoms of cancer treatment–such as a decrease in bone density, a loss of lean mass, and an increase in fat mass.
The Benefits of Exercise for Women that have Beaten Breast Cancer
While none of the effects of cancer treatment are enjoyable, certainly each possible side effect is better than continuing to fight with the cancer. But for women, especially older women, the loss of bone density is especially worrisome.
Women are especially prone to osteoporosis due to having children and hormonal changes that can impact bone density. And if you add defeating breast cancer to the mix, the possibility of weakened bones is even higher.
And that is where exercise comes in. In a study done by researchers at the Oregon Health and Science University, breast cancer survivors that had participated in a year of resistance and impact training had increased muscle mass and stopped the bone loss so common in similar populations of breast cancer survivors.
The study went a step further and retested 44 women from the study a year later, and found that the improved bone density had been maintained even in those that had stopped formal exercise sessions. The researchers concluded that continuing an exercise program after cancer treatment is concluded may help women prevent bone fractures later in life.
Just because this article points out a benefit of exercise for cancer survivors, don’t wait to develop cancer to start exercising! Male or female, young or old, there are so many health benefits of regular exercise that I can’t even begin to name them all.
So do it. Get up, get active, and get healthy.
And for those of you that have beaten the beast, congratulations!
Now, get moving!