It’s well known that exercise is good for preventing and treating many forms of heart disease, but less commonly known are the benefits of physical activity for people living with and beyond cancer.
In a new study, researchers developed a new initiative called Moving Through Cancer to change that
The research was led by Penn State College of Medicine.
In their paper, the researchers outline new exercise recommendations for people living with and beyond cancer.
According to the researchers, exercise is important for cancer prevention and can lower the risk of developing colon, breast, endometrial, kidney, bladder, esophagus and stomach cancers.
Exercise during and after cancer treatment can help improve fatigue, anxiety, depression, physical function, and quality of life, and can also help improve survival after a breast, colon or prostate cancer diagnosis.
Depending on the patient’s activity levels and abilities, the researchers generally recommend 30 minutes of moderately intense aerobic exercise three times a week and 20 to 30 minutes of resistance exercise twice a week.
But, they said health care professionals can also customize exercise prescriptions to individual patients.
In the study, the team found doctors can give specific FITT exercise prescriptions — which means frequency, intensity, time and type — for specific outcomes like quality of life, fatigue, pain, and others.
For example, if doctors are seeing a head and neck cancer patient with a specific set of symptoms, they could give them an exercise prescription personalized to them.
The recommendations are one result of a roundtable of experts formed by the team and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) to review the latest scientific evidence and offer recommendations about the benefits of exercise for prevention, treatment, recovery and improved survival for people living with and beyond cancer.
The team hopes their research is a call to action for health care professionals and policymakers to help guide awareness and practice of exercise as medicine for people living with and beyond cancer.
The lead author of the study is Kathryn Schmitz, professor of public health sciences.
The research is published in CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians and others.
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