Here at Ferrigno FIT, we love hearing success stories and talking to people who’ve reached their personal health and fitness goals. It’s so inspiring to see how exercise can positively impact someone’s life, especially when they’re battling an illness or on the path to recovery. This week we invited guest blogger Virgil Anderson to share his journey on how exercising can help people suffering from Mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is a rare type of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos that forms around the thin protecting tissues that cover the abdomen and lungs. The most appropriate approach to treatment is guiding people on how they can ease the symptoms and improve their survival rates. However, a cure has not been found, but research is helping people increase their survival chances with the disease. A guided exercise routine has been recommended not just for mesothelioma patients, but also for other cancer patients. Cancer patients who exercise experience reduced side effects like fatigue, and find an overall improvement in their quality of life.

Reduce Muscle Loss
For even young mesothelioma and general cancer patients, and those undergoing treatment, muscle loss is a common sign. To counter this problem, the patients are advised to be active and engage in strength training. This reduces the loss of muscles, and when very efficiently done, it can even build up muscles. The danger of being inactive is that the cancer cells might spread faster, which will require more treatment that only makes the patient weaker.

Having More Muscle Mass Increases Appetite
One major effect of chemotherapy is nausea as well as change to taste and smell. While patients are required to get adequate nutrition so that their bodies can heal, they often lose appetite due to the mentioned side effects. Engaging in strength exercises uses up most of the stored energy and naturally makes one crave more for food, thus promoting appetite.

Relieving Fatigue
One persistent symptom of this type of cancer is fatigue. It is no surprise that those who have lived with cancer for a long time are very inactive, and some barely leave their beds. One finds it difficult to enjoy life. Research has shown that exercise, and especially strength training, reduces fatigue in cancer patients by about 40 to 50 percent. Although it might be an uphill task to overcome this fatigue and start exercising, when one gets the hang of it, it reduces chronic and excessive tiredness.

Improves Mobility, Activity and Quality of life
Mobility of cancer is greatly affected by the immense pain, loss of muscles and even treatment like surgery adversely reduces the ability to move around. One finds it difficult to enjoy normal activities that they had enjoyed previously, thus affecting the overall quality of life. Patients are advised to make the bold move and start strength training, which improves muscle mass, increases flexibility, reduces fatigue and makes it easier for one to enjoy normal day activities.

Relieve Stress, Anxiety and Depression
While cancer may cause mental health consequence and physical complications leading to stress, clinical anxiety and depression, professionals have advised patients to be involved in exercises. Exercising is a mood booster because it gives purpose, gives a new challenge to focus on and enhances social interactions.

Cancer patients are advised to work with a professional who will advise them on the right exercise to begin with, depending on one’s strength and age. Even the elderly are advised to start with light challenges that will help brighten up their days. Exercising is important in the general health of an individual.

Written by: Virgil Anderson