Monday, November 14, 2011

Guest Blog by David Haas

Today I have the pleasure of introducing a guest blogger. David Haas is a cancer survivor and a staff writer for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog and is an advocate for cancer patients and their families. He asked if he could post the following article and I gladly accepted (especially since it's advice I need to take myself). It's important information for all of us who have faced cancer or who have loved ones who have. Great advice from a great advocate! Enjoy!!!!

The Value of Fitness for Survivors by David Haas

It's no secret that a cancer diagnosis is terrifying, but the good news is that there is life after cancer. Whether you've just received your diagnosis or are ten years into remission, it's important that you continue to live your life the way you want to. One way you can help deal with your cancer diagnosis is through regular physical exercise. Physical fitness not only helps you maintain a healthy body weight, build and maintain muscle, but it also can lower your blood pressure, help regulate your blood sugar levels, and reduce stress.

Whether you're dealing with mesothelioma, leukemia, ovarian, or another type of cancer, it's important to allow yourself to exercise as long as you're physically able to do so. According to Georgia State University, regular exercise can also help prevent other diseases, such as diabetes or heart disease.

Talk with your doctor before you begin to exercise, especially if you're still undergoing treatment or recently completed treatments for cancer. While fitness and exercise affords you many health benefits, you should never perform any type of exercise before you discuss it with your physician. Your doctor understands your health history and your current medical condition, and can offer you several ways that you can exercise in a careful, stress-free way that will be safe for you to do.

Understand that when you begin an exercise program, especially after cancer, you'll need to take things slow. Don't rush to the gym and begin to lift the heaviest weights you can. Instead, start slow and allow your body to work up to stronger exercises. Consider taking a yoga or ballroom dancing course, which is slower-paced and can help ease you into the idea of exercise. After awhile, you may find that you're progressing to Zumba or modern dance classes as your body and muscles grow stronger and more used to the physical activity.

As with anything, if you experience pain or discomfort, talk with your doctor. Your personal physician can recommend stretches and at-home treatment options for dealing with exercise aches and pains. While some tenderness after moderate exercise is to be expected, take care that you don't physically injure yourself when it's time to work out.

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