Exercise and healthy living have plenty of significant health benefits, for cancer patients this is especially true. However, it is common to see a decline in physical activity, such as walking, when one is going through treatment, as well as afterwards. In a new study out of the University of Surrey, it would seem that new initiatives are being considered to help cancer patients improve their level of activity in order to help improve quality of life. The study findings were published in the BMJ Open journal.
Although these physical activity initiatives are typically supervised and require extra travel that can be a burden on patients, new research looked at two groups of cancer patients. One group was told to stick to their typical activities, while the second group was supervised and advised to add walking to their routine, as the health benefits of this particular form of exercise have been well documented. The supervised group went through a motivational interview, participated in a group walk session and was advised to do 30 minutes of individual walking on alternating days.
According to researchers, the group that added the additional exercise to their weekly routine found themselves seeing improvements in their psychological well-being, as well as emotionally and even physically. Many of the patients who participated indicated that they had a more positive attitude when thinking about their illness. Walking in groups also had an added benefit of being more social.
Emma Ream, the co-author of the study and a professor at the university, said that it is fast becoming clear that the importance of exercise is vast, including the possibility of preventing cancer from recurring. Adding walking to one’s routine also helps to manage some other chronic illnesses. What they were able to prove by studying the two different groups of cancer patients is that exercise is not only suitable, but also valued and beneficial for people who have advanced forms of cancer.
What researchers are hoping to get across with the results of this study is that adding exercise and especially walking to one’s routine is highly encouraged. Instead of shying away from activity when one is sick, it is suggested that cancer patients incorporate exercise and more activity into daily life as often as possible. Although the researchers feel that it is important to continue studying the effects of walking and activity on cancer patients, they already have proof that it can be helpful in the long run, now it is a matter of proving it on a larger scale.
By Dorothea James