Thursday, May 17, 2012

Exercise helps cancer survivors live longer

A story in yesterday's New York Times, Cancer Survivors Who Exercise Live Longer, cites new research showing that exercise reduces the risk of premature death from cancer and other causes.

This is comforting news to those of us who already exercise and a get-up call to those who don't. Studies show that you don't need to start a vigorous exercise program: Walking will be fine.

People commenting on this story in the Well section pointed out that exercise is not a panacea, writing  that they knew people who exercised and died anyway. I was in the hospital when four-time Iditarod winner Susan Butcher died of leukemia at age 51 in 2006. A pall came over the pod as the news came over the TV. How could someone so young and healthy die?

Yes it's no guarantee. But for those who are able to do even some walking, it definitely can't hurt.

I have viewed my exercising as part of my therapy of getting healthy and back to normal. People who know me point out that I often over-do it, which is true. It's counterproductive because then you just end up tired. I am working on finding a balance.

Of course for years experts have stressed the benefits of eating well and staying active. When I was diagnosed in 2003, I was stunned. I did everything they said to do, and still, I got cancer.

Exercising didn't protect me, but it did help me get through everything they threw at me. My doctors said that because I was otherwise healthy, they were confident I would emerge from the treatment just fine.

So there are good reasons to keep on carrying on, or in my case, swinging that tennis racquet.


PJ said...

You know I agree. Just read in the times that coffee lowers your risk of disease by 10-15%. Have a cup of jo and swing that racquengfWest!

Nelle said...

I do believe this is true in most cases. The massive radiation I received damaged my heart and I know others who had the same thing happen. In that case the heart becomes "stiff" and if you excercise too vigorously you can have a heart attack. I know of two people who had fatal ones so that has deterred me mentally from being better. I am fine when supervised at a facility but at home once my heart beats hard I experience anxiety.

Anonymous said...

Serve them up, to quote Al Gordon!

cannot wait to see you tomorrow eve! If anyone is the Poster Girl for Health and Exercise, it's you, Runder-woman!


Cara said...

Research has shown that exercise is not only safe and possible during cancer treatment; it’s now recommended! In fact, the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American College of Sports Medicine (ASCM) are urging doctors to encourage their patients to be as physically active as possible before, during and after cancer treatment.Keep moving :-)

Jim said...

Succint and very well said, RG.

Joanna said...

I do believe that you are amazing. It seems like running and tennis have been your saviors. Tennis has been my saving grace. I had a different kind of treatment than you had, but I played throughout chemo and radiation. I am convinced that tennis has saved my life. I am in awe of your running. Keep on keeping you eye on the ball :}