As a mesothelioma patient it is important to keep your body strong before, during, and after treatment. One of the best ways to do this is by exercising.

How Exercising Helps

Exercising might be difficult for a mesothelioma patient. This difficulty will vary depending on the type of treatment they are experiencing.The stage of their disease can also limit their physical abilities too.

Treatments such a chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery can cause a patient to feel weakened and fatigued. However, exercising can be very beneficial during recovery.

Exercising helps by
  • Improving physical abilities
  • Strengthening muscles
  • Improving balance
  • Lessening nausea
  • Improving blood flow

Some studies even suggest that exercising can help reduce the risk of cancer from either developing or recurring. It is recommended that a patient speaks with their doctor about what exercises are best for them.

During and After Treatment Exercising

According to health experts, cancer patients should engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. In some cases, a mesothelioma patient may not be able to do this because of the side effects they’re experiencing from treatment.

Instead, patients can break that 30 minutes into 3 sets of 10 minutes. By pacing themselves, this allows them to receive the recommended amount of exercise throughout different times of the day.

Some important things to remember when exercising
  • Dress comfortably
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Breathe normally
  • Warm up with gentle movements
  • Don’t workout if you aren’t feeling good or if you’re running a fever
  • Know your body’s limitations and don’t push them

To make exercising more enjoyable, a patient can recruit a friend or loved one to be their workout buddy. There are also programs offered by health clubs and hospitals that are specifically designed for cancer patients.

4 Exercising Methods

What exercises a patient can endure is going to vary from individual to individual. Factors such as disease, treatment, and stamina can affect a person’s ability. Starting to exercise may be difficult at first, but it is important that patients pace themselves and don’t give up.

Here are 4 areas of exercising that health experts suggest that patients focus on.

  • 1
    Aerobics

Man running

Aerobics not only helps a person feel better, but it helps keep a patient’s body strong before, during, and after treatment. Participating in physical activity as simple as walking or running can help get the heart rate up. It is suggested that an individual rotates aerobic style workouts and strength building exercises. Doing this will help the patient to increase their muscles and their metabolism.

  • 2
    Strength
One woman lifting weights and another one spotting her

Lifting weights such as dumbbells or barbells are considered a part of strength training. This type of training helps work muscles that may become weakened during treatment. Sometimes chemotherapy and radiation can damage a patient’s bones. Participating in strength exercising won’t increase an individual’s bone mass, but it can help alleviate the pressure that muscles can put on them.

  • 3
    Balance

Two women doing yoga

The drugs that are used during mesothelioma treatment can cause a patient to have poor balance, which makes it very easy for them to fall. By participating in balancing exercises, fall-related injuries can be avoided. Simple movements used in yoga and tai chi can help improve balance and the body’s range of motion. Exercises such as one leg stands or placing one foot in front of the other can also help.

  • 4
    Stretching
Group of people doing arm stretches

Sometimes after surgery, a patient may feel weak or stiff in certain areas of their body. Stretching helps overcome this stiffness. It also helps improve and maintain flexibility. These types of exercises can include stretches that help strengthen the arms, legs, and torso. Experts suggest that patients should do this type of exercise about 3 to 4 times a week.

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Show Sources & Author

  1. 4 Kinds of Exercise That Help Cancer Patients. LiveScience. Retrieved from: https://www.livescience.com/13837-exercise-helps-cancer-patients.html. Accessed: 09/01/2017.
  2. Physical Activity and the Cancer Patient. American Cancer Society. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorship-during-and-after-treatment/staying-active/physical-activity-and-the-cancer-patient.html. Accessed: 09/01/2017.
  3. Exercising During Cancer Treatment. National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Retrieved from: https://www.nccn.org/patients/resources/life_with_cancer/exercise.aspx. Accessed: 09/01/2017.
  4. Long-Term Side Effects of Cancer Treatment. Cancer.net. Retrieved from: http://www.cancer.net/survivorship/long-term-side-effects-cancer-treatment. Accessed: 09/01/2017.
  5. Flexibility exercises. Cancer Council Victoria. Retrieved from: http://www.cancervic.org.au/living-with-cancer/exercise/flexibility-techniques. Accessed: 09/01/2017.
  6. Overcoming Barriers to Maintaining Physical Activity during Cancer Care. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Retrieved from: https://www.mskcc.org/clinical-updates/overcoming-barriers-maintaining-physical-activity-during-cancer-care. Accessed: 09/01/2017.
  7. Exercising with lung cancer. DANA-FARBER Cancer Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.dana-farber.org/Health-Library/Exercising-with-lung-cancer.aspx. Accessed: 09/01/2017.

About the Writer, Nicole Godfrey

Nicole Godfrey is the Senior Content Writer for Mesothelioma Guide. She develops content to help educate and provide awareness about the most significant information about improving a mesothelioma patient’s prognosis.