Exercise Helps Cancer Patients

Physical exercise has positive effects on cancer patients' quality of life, leading to improvements in both physical and psychological health.

Taken as a group, the studies have consistently demonstrated that physical exercise following cancer diagnosis has a positive effect on quality of life including physical, functional, psychological, and emotional well being.

Physical benefits of exercise observed in the studies included lung capacity, muscle strength, flexibility and increased energy, as well as reduced nausea, fatigue, pain, and diarrhea. Blood markers and the activity of anti-cancer cells also improved in patients who exercised, the researchers report. Psychological benefits included increased feelings of competence, control, and self-esteem, improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety, and greater satisfaction with life.

Annals of Behavioral Medicine September 1999.

COMMENT: Another reason to exercise! The authors note two cautions, however. First, they point out that some cancer patients may require close medical supervision during exercise, and not all are able to exercise.

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