Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Exercises for Breast Cancer Survivors

Exercises and movement are crucial in the stage after treatment for breast cancer survivors as they need to regain their strength and physical function after a period of inactivity or medical treatment even if they were able to move during treatment (2).

Studies have found that running outpaced walking in enhancing the workout of breast cancer survivors in reducing mortality. "According to their number crunching, which is based on metabolic equivalent (MET) figures, the runners' risk for mortality decreased more than 40 per cent per MET hours per day."
Yoga has also been found to lower the levels of inflammation and increase energy (1).

The researchers explain: " Metabolic equivalent is the ratio of the metabolic rate -- or the rate of energy consumption -- during a specific physical activity to a reference metabolic rate. 
In this case, one MET-hour is equal to a one-kilometer run (1).

Those runners who did an average of 3.6 km/day lowered their risk of mortality by 95%. On the other hand, walkers reduced it by 5% per MET hour per day (1).

Based on the results of such studies, it is recommended to amp up exercises so that they include running and other vigorous activities to achieve more dramatic health benefits (1).  

As to yoga, it is recommended to head for it for those survivors undergoing or recovering from treatments as they can be exhausted from this process. Yoga could be more suitable as it is cardio-intense but in a milder manner. Studies have found that practicing yoga for three months can lower fatigue and inflammation among breast cancer survivors (1). 

In the study fatigue levels dropped by 57% and inflammation was lowered by 20%.

The lead author of the study comments:

"One of the problems they face is a real reduction in cardiorespiratory fitness. The treatment is so debilitating and they are so tired, and the less you do physically, the less you're able to do. It's a downward spiral," said lead author Janice Kiecolt-Glaser.
"That's one reason we think there are higher levels of inflammation in cancer survivors, meaning that an intervention that reduces inflammation could potentially be very beneficial."

1- CTV News: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/the-two-exercises-that-can-help-breast-cancer-survivors-recover-faster-1.1664477
2- ACE Fitness: http://www.acefitness.org/acefit/fitness-fact-article/3320/exercise-for-breast-cancer/


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