December 2006


Author: George K. Newell and Nate Dixon

Lance Armstrong won the Tour de France a record seven times, from 1999 – 2006. He did all this following his battle with Stage III testicular, lung and brain cancer. In doing this, he demonstrated to the world that exercising has been effective in improving his immune system and it continues to be beneficial in defending him from cancer, as it is reported that he is now cancer-free.

Exercise is a critical component in cancer recovery because it not only improves immune system function, but also increases the amount of energy you have available. The American Cancer Society recommends that if you are not physically active, you should gradually work up to 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most, if not all, days of the week. If you are active on a regular basis and you want to do more, you should increase the intensity, duration or frequency of your physical activity.

Patients may find that their lack of energy is so debilitating that it restricts activities such as walking, gardening, golfing and other recreational activities. Thirty per cent of patients receiving chemotherapy report incapacitating fatigue, while up to 70% report some loss of energy. To avoid this, patients are often instructed to rest and to limit their activity level. However, research suggests sedentary behavior increases fatigue.

Gary Thomas, M.D., an oncologist on Hilton Head Island, typically recommends 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day. He suggests that age, treatment, condition, fitness level and cancer type all affect whether the patient should be exercising. He states, “Patients who have been physically active prior to their diagnosis should continue with a physically active lifestyle. Most patients want to rest, but this may be detrimental to both their health and mood.” Thomas goes on to say, “Patients shouldn’t expect to go through a treatment of chemotherapy and go straight to the golf course for 18 holes. Patients need to consider the benefits of exercise, but also what their body is telling them. Exercise empowers patients and is very important to their recovery.”

Palmetto Athletic Club has a staff of highly educated and compassionate exercise physiologists and trainers who can assist you in getting back to being healthy and fit. Call today at (843) 842-3222 or stop by today for a free fitness assessment.

Written by: George K. Newell, M.S., Exercise Physiologist
and Nate Dixon, D.P.T., Doctor of Physical Therapy
Palmetto Athletic Club

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