Keeping active during cancer treatment is possible and offers noticeable mental and physical benefits. A diagnosis of mesothelioma does not have to define your life. Taking steps to remain fit is empowering and leads to a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
Motivation is integral as you journey through the treatment process. Small steps go a long way in staying positive and maintaining your health. Deciding what works for you will keep you moving forward in your fight against mesothelioma.
This diagnosis and treatment may be your first experience with a life-changing health event. As you begin treatment for mesothelioma, your body will change, and your activity level will fluctuate. Listen to your body and decide if you need an extra nudge to get moving or if it is more beneficial to stop and rest.
Discouragement can infiltrate emotions as these changes occur. Show yourself the kindness you would extend to a friend experiencing the same health challenge.
No doubt, there are friends and family that want to support you. Establish a network of people willing to dedicate time to meeting you for a walk, swim, or bike ride. Knowing someone is showing up for you will help you show for them and yourself.
Before a mesothelioma diagnosis, it may have seemed simple to trek up a mountain trail or ride a bike for miles with minimal effort. But finding low-impact exercises will keep you moving longer and breathing easier while being gentler on your body.
Remembering the benefits of movement and maintaining fitness during treatment is important.
- Exercise can decrease muscle loss while improving muscle strength.
- The risk of developing other forms of cancer decreases.
- Remaining active can stave off the threat of neuropathy, fatigue, and nausea.
- Exercise can improve coordination.
- Staying active may improve sleep.
Maintaining muscle is a vital part of health in the aging process. A body’s muscle loss can begin in the mid-30s to early 40s and accelerates as we age. A light lifting approach can help maintain muscle fitness without major fatigue.
Working with a therapist or knowledgeable trainer can help you safely practice lifting without risking muscle damage from improper movement.
The benefits of walking are endless, and it is a free way to exercise. Find a walking partner and enjoy the benefits of social interaction while you move each day. Social connection can lift your spirits and initiate positive emotions.
Your daily walk will not only improve your health, but it improve the health of your exercise partner. Walking offers the following benefits:
- Improves your cardiovascular system
- Calms joint pain
- Improves immune function
- Improves energy levels
Stressful and painful situations restrict our breathing, causing us to breathe shallowly. To experience the benefits of better breathing, particularly during treatment, attend a class or download an app that focuses on the breath. Proper breathing can lower blood pressure and restore a sense of calm.
Yoga can be a gentle practice that can increase balance and flexibility in the body while reducing the negative effects of treatment. Remaining flexible can alleviate soreness and stiff muscles. Hatha yoga is one practice that can incorporate gentle breathing and stretching movements.
All bodies need adequate fuel to function and remain active. Treatment for mesothelioma can affect your appetite and make it challenging to stay properly hydrated and nourished. Speaking with a nutritionist can help you get creative with food ideas.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Dehydration can be serious and fatal.
- Eat whole foods. Even small amounts eaten often go a long way.
- Try smoothie combinations to incorporate fruits and vegetables easily.
Setting realistic expectations for maintaining an active lifestyle during treatment for Mesothelioma will allow for a gentle approach to wellness. Breaking activity up into manageable increments over a day adds up. Staying positive and appreciating what your body can do for you allows for affirmative benefits, both mentally and physically.