Enjoying Exercise Has Major Health Benefits for Cancer Patients

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a reader associated with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. He offered to write a guest post about the benefits of exercise for cancer patients. Little did he know how important this topic is to me.

Two and a half years ago, a client of mine was diagnosed with colon cancer. She was young (43), exercised regularly and followed a healthy diet. She had no family history of cancer and by all accounts, should not have had this disease. At her insistence, we continued her training in the weeks leading up to the surgery to remove the tumour and all through the subsequent months of chemotherapy.

When a second surgery was deemed necessary (to remove part of her liver, which had become cancerous), she was again adamant that we maintain her twice-weekly workouts. She felt that they raised her energy levels, even on days when she was so tired she couldn’t walk to her children’s school to pick them up. Tragically, she succumbed to cancer at the age of 44, leaving two young children and a grief-stricken husband behind. In the days following her death, I met several of her long-time friends, who credited our training sessions with prolonging her life and extending the time she had left with her family.

Many people don’t think that they have the time to exercise, even though they know that the rewards can be extremely beneficial for both their mind and body. However what most people don’t’ realize is that they may have more time for physical activity than they think. In fact, some people can fit in exercise while they are busy doing other things and don’t even have to make additional time out of their day for it. For example, those who work in office buildings can skip the elevator and take the stairs during to get their heart rate bumping or even park your car at a different lot in the morning to walk the longer route in and give your legs a nice morning brisk walk. Others may find the time to engage in activities that they enjoy, such as a nightly stroll through the park or neighborhood, hitting the gym and getting on the treadmill or taking a dance class a few nights a week; all forms of exercise is better than inactivity at all.

In fact, different forms of exercise that doesn’t even feel strenuous or extremely tiresome are the activities that doctors are recommending their patients try. Even patients with rare forms of cancer such as mesothelioma are encouraged to get off the couch or the elevator and get to walking, swimming, biking, hiking or even dancing. The benefits and positive effects of moderate exercise for at least 150 minutes per week are so beneficial that doctors are telling their patients alongside their cancer treatments that, exercise will give them a better chance at beating the odds of their life threatening disease.

The better a person feels about life, the better they feel about their health. There is a greater chance at having the opportunity to live a healthy life and not succumbing to cancer if patients simply get out and exercise. The hormones and chemicals that the body produces during exercise will boost a person’s immune system, improve their mood and improve their overall health from the inside out.

Those who exercise may potentially feel better as a whole, which is better for their treatment and their outlook on life. Treatments for cancer often include negative side effects, such as nausea, vomiting and even depression. Exercise and fitness can help to alleviate these symptoms so that they are barely noticeable, less frequent or even become completely non-existent. There is no reason why everyone shouldn’t be participating in some form of exercise, especially those that are living and fighting for their life against cancer. The benefits are too helpful to ignore; so get out there, consult your doctor about a workout plan that suits you and fight back cancer through activity!

David Haas is a cancer support group and awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In addition to researching the many valuable programs available to our site’s visitors, David often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer, while creating relationships with similar organizations.Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/david/bio.htm#ixzz1s2iT3fXA

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.

Looking for an inexpensive way to jump-start your journey to fitness and health? Join my online Bootcamp today! Get more info by clicking the image below.


  1. Every day we read more research proving the beneficial effects of exercise. So when people ask jokingly, “Do you have a magic want or pill?” I tell them I do and it’s called Exercise!

  2. The power of exercise. I am such a strong believer in that mantra. Even when my father-in-law was going through chemo for a brain tumor, he was at the gym 3-4 times a week–said he really enjoyed it and it made him feel stronger. Although we lost the dear man, I believe his exercising contributed to the extra unexpected months of life he was able to achieve.
    crubin recently posted…Drumroll For De BlogrollMy Profile

    • I love hearing stories like this. Movement is such a powerful part of our lives. We shouldn’t underestimate it’s wonderful effects!

  3. Thank yo so much for posting this! I have had family members die from cancer & one battling it right now. We have blog world family battling it. Exercises is such a great thing to not only help but make us feel still viable! Thank you!!!

    Hope you are feeling better!
    Jody – Fit at 54 recently posted…Gratitude Monday & WorkoutsMy Profile

    • Thanks for being so supportive, Jody! I can always count on a positive message from you. Best wishes to your family member. My sister just had her last surgery this past week. The final ‘touch up’ work after a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy at 40. I wish I could be there with her to help her get back to fitness as she heals!

  4. I love how you continue to bring this important topic to light. Thanks Tamara!
    I am loving to see your sponsorship areas filling up!
    Talia @ Bite Size Wellness recently posted…6 Ways to Beat the Homesick BluesMy Profile

    • Hi Talia! I think cancer is probably one of the most important things to write about; we all know someone who’s had it (or we will before long).
      And I have filled up some white space in my margins; affiliate programs for now, but I’m working on some other types of advertisement too! How have you done it on your site?

  5. Thank you so much for this post. It is so hard when you aren’t feeling well to motivate yourself to be active. My grandmother doesn’t have cancer but is battling multiple diseases and I think if she was active from the start she would be feeling so much better than she is now.
    Amanda @ HappyMotherRunner recently posted…Week 11 PROOF RecapMy Profile

    • Hi Amanda, yes it is hard to motivate yourself, that’s why need to be there to motivate those who need some help. Can you help your grandmother get out and get moving?

  6. Thx for your post, I really enjoy your blog. Long time lurker, first time commenter, you know the drill. I tried to share this one time before, I don’t think it posted correctly…hopefully it will this time!