Many patients diagnosed with mesothelioma often feel like their world stops. It is an understandable feeling because mesothelioma is a debilitating and aggressive disease. The good thing, though, is that there are things that can help them ease the symptoms. One of them is exercise. Exercise has tons of benefits for the overall well-being of an individual.
Seniors diagnosed with mesothelioma can still engage in exercise to help them in their recovery and prevent possible age-related diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, and dementia.
Director of Cardio-Oncology program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Dr. Lee Jones, who is also an exercise scientist, is working on individualized exercise programs for cancer patients to help them in their recovery process because he believes in the healing power of exercise.
Most patients diagnosed with aggressive cancers, including mesothelioma, are often advised to rest and avoid strenuous activities like exercise. But, many health practitioners overlook the fact that some patients nowadays are diagnosed during cancer’s early stages and still have the capacity to do physical activities without causing any health issues.
How Exercising Helps Mesothelioma Patients
Mesothelioma patients often find it hard to exercise depending on the current treatments they are having and the stage of their disease. Patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation feel weak most of the time, but exercise can help during the recovery process.
Engaging in exercise can help them:
- Strengthen their muscles
- Improve general well-being
- Lessen nausea
- Improve balance
- Boost blood flow
Most health experts familiar with mesothelioma advise patients to do at least 30 minutes of exercise daily. If it is too hard, patients can break the workout into three sets of 10 minutes.
Best Exercises for Mesothelioma Patients
Since patients with mesothelioma often have difficulty breathing, their exercises must be carefully planned and not too rigorous. It will also be useful to think about daily activities as forms of exercises. Simple household chores like light gardening, doing the dishes, folding the laundry, and walking the dog qualify as light exercises as well. These little movements can help you incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Remember, the adverse effects of inactivity are often far worse than the risks of exercising.
Mesothelioma patients have much to gain from low-impact exercises to improve their energy levels and overall quality of life. Some of the low-impact exercises they can do include:
Yoga incorporates physical movement and meditation. Yoga and meditation are just some of the alternative therapies suggested by Bergman Legal (www.bergmanlegal.com), a law firm who has worked with dozens of mesothelioma patients. The practice of yoga and meditation trains patients to control their breathing and positively condition their minds, allowing them to relax and feel peace.
Tai Chi and Qigong
Tai Chi and Qigong are two types of moving meditation. They are great for mesothelioma patients because moving with the flow, and gentle weight-bearing practices help them improve their balance and strengthen bones. Simultaneously, patients also benefit from stress reduction.
Swimming is a therapeutic exercise that helps patients build muscle strength, endurance, healthy lungs, and muscle tone. Patients with mesothelioma must first seek their doctor’s approval should they want to engage in swimming. They are also highly advised to swim with supervision.
Lightweight Strength Training
Mesothelioma patients often feel weak. Due to this, they can only do light strength training to help them gain muscle strength and tone. Patients may benefit if they do the exercises gradually. They should never force their body to lift weights. Using bodyweight while doing squats and lunges is enough to improve strength.
If you are new to exercising, you have to find ways to motivate yourself to exercise. You can recruit your loved ones and friends to join you, or you can organize a group exercise in your community. The important thing is to keep moving!