The last thing anyone feels like doing when they’re tired is working out. I get it, I’ve been there. But I also know that it takes energy to get energy. This is true for everyone, but especially if you have cancer. The researchers at the University of the West England in Bristol have discovered that exercises such as walking and cycling boost the energy levels in cancer patients, helping them to deal with fatigue, a common and potentially long-lasting side-effect often associated with cancer and treatment.
According to Fiona Cramp, MD, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, University of the West of England, aerobic exercises are more beneficial compared to the other forms of exercises like yoga and resistance training.
Their updated systematic review strengthens findings from an earlier version on cancer-related fatigue published in The Cochrane Library by adding a further 28 studies to those included in the 2008 review. Altogether, 56 studies involving a total of 4,068 people with cancer were included. Half of the studies were carried out in people with breast cancer.
“The evidence suggests that exercise may help reduce cancer-related fatigue and should therefore be considered as one component of a strategy for managing fatigue that may include a range of other interventions and education,” said Cramp. “This updated review provides a more precise conclusion, showing specifically that aerobic exercise, both during and after cancer treatment, can be beneficial.”
Don’t worry; no one’s suggesting an all-out high intensity workout! Start slowly with 5-10 minutes of walking and gradually build up to 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Not only will your energy increase and mood improve, your chances of a cancer recurrence can decrease by as much as 30% for prostate cancer patients and 40% for breast cancer patients. Now that’s worth moving for!