Staying active is important for overall health; but for breast cancer patients and survivors, itâs more than a mere suggestionâit's a crucial part of the healing and recovery journey. Recent scientific studies have shown that exercise can aid significantly in both the treatment and prevention of breast cancer. This article will delve into why exercise is vital for people with breast cancer and provide practical advice on how to engage with it daily.
Exercise and Breast Cancer: The Connection
Physical activity has been proven to play a key role in decreasing the risk of breast cancer coming back (recurrence) and also helps to improve your quality of life. Exercise can also help in countering other side effects related to cancer treatment: like fatigue, depression, anxiety, and the decrease in overall physical functioning.
The Science Behind Exercise and Breast Cancer
Research shows that regular exercise can potentially lower the risk of breast cancer by improving immune system response, reducing hormone levels, especially estrogenâa known risk factor for breast cancerâand boosting overall metabolic health. A study conducted by the National Cancer Institute indicates that physically active women have a 12-21% lower risk of breast cancer than inactive counterparts.
Fight Fatigue with Fitness
Fatigue is one of the most common side effects for breast cancer patients undergoing treatment. Engaging in regular, light exercise can have a profound impact on energy levels by promoting better sleep, maintaining a healthy appetite, and lifting mood.
Exercise and Mental Health
Cancer treatments can often lead to emotional distress. Regular physical exercise not only boosts the production of endorphinsâthe body's natural mood lifters, but it also provides a healthy distraction and a sense of achievement. Exercise can also improve sleep and act as a stress relief mechanism.
Integrating Exercise Into Your Daily Routine
The goal is to stay as active as possible. Starting slow and gradually increasing your level of physical activity can be a realistic approach. Engage in activities like walking, cycling, yoga, light strength training, and other forms of exercise you enjoy. Regular practice, even just a few minutes a day, can make a big difference to your well-being.
Consulting Your Healthcare Provider
Before embarking on an exercise routine, it's essential to consult with your healthcare provider. They can guide you on the right activity level, considering your current health status.
Exercise is a powerful tool in the journey of breast cancer treatment. It not only benefits your physical health but also significantly improves the quality of your life. While it may not be a cure, physical activity undoubtedly embellishes the path of recovery and aids in making it a much smoother journey.