Exercise is one of the most universal recommendations for reducing health risks. From diabetes to heart disease to joint problems, breaking a sweat has been shown to help protect people from an array of health conditions.
It’s also being looked to by those who are on the mend from medical issues, particularly people who have conquered a cancer diagnosis.
Benefits of exercise
A new study is touting exercise as providing the greatest amount of help for cancer patients in their recovery process. The Canadian-based research focused on female survivors of breast cancer, examining the impact of a range of lifestyle factors on the patients’ risk for recurrence or death.
Women were able to significantly reduce their risk of breast cancer returning, and of a recurrence being fatal, by incorporating workouts into their routines. Those who had at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days a week, or 75 minutes of intense activity per week, showed the best results.
While exercise can offer help for cancer patients looking to stay on the right track, getting active after major surgery or treatments like chemotherapy can be both a physical and emotional challenge. Researchers suggested health-care providers can be particularly influential in explaining the benefits of exercise to their patients and working with them to develop routines that fit into their daily lives.
Other helpful choices
Weight management often goes hand in hand with exercise, and the researchers not surprisingly found that as well in this study. The report indicates that weight gain of at least 10 percent after a breast cancer diagnosis enhances both recurrence and mortality rates. Obese women, in particular, faced the toughest odds.
The researchers didn’t pinpoint a certain diet that could reduce risk, which again suggests the importance of exercise.
Incorporating healthy living is important, but so is avoiding bad habits. In particular, the study suggested that quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption can both help a woman avoid recurrence of breast cancer.