High or Low: Which Workout Intensity Is OK for Cancer Survivors? - Mercy Medical Center

High or Low: Which Workout Intensity Is OK for Cancer Survivors?

Posted on: April 10, 2015

If you or someone you love is a cancer survivor, don't be overwhelmed by the thought of an all-out, agressive, boot-camp-style workout. Learn more about the latest research on exercise for cancer survivors.

High or Low Intensity Workouts for Cancer Survivors? Tips from Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Ohio

It was a long winter. Even if you were stalwart enough to stand up to the cold, you might have found it tough to get up the oomph to exercise. Many have told me this past winter sapped all of their energy. But heads up, everyone, spring is here!

So, step outside, take a deep breath, and start your exercise regimen anew.

High Intensity Not Required to Achieve Results

Lest you be overwhelmed by the thought of an all-out aggressive, boot camp style workout – relax. A review published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that among cancer survivors who participated in resistance and weight training, low-intensity workouts resulted in the greatest gains in arm muscles and a small loss of fat.

What does this mean for you? It means that you don’t always have to focus on high intensity workouts to achieve results. Especially if your cancer has left you with some physical limitations, it is important to focus on the achievable, not the impossible. With your physician’s approval, and a well-trained fitness professional, you can design the workout that meets your needs. Do the most you can do, and do it consistently with excellent technique.

What's the Best Exercise Regimen for Cancer Survivors?

The jury is still out as to exactly which exercise regimen is best for cancer survivors, although the American College of Sports Medicine suggests that cancer survivors get the same amount of exercise as the general population: 2.5 hours of moderate intensity aerobic exercise, as well as muscle training and flexibility. We do know that physical activity offers many health benefits for cancer survivors, including improved quality of life, weight control, decreased risk of other health problems, and possibly decreased risk of cancer recurrence.

Are you ready to spring into action? Get the “all clear” from your doctor, and find the exercise program that works for you. Step outside and enjoy a brisk early spring walk. Join a Cancer WellFit class at Mercy Health & Fitness Center. Dust off the dumbbells that rolled under the bed, and put them to work. Take the opportunity to walk the track at this year’s Relay for Life. You might find a fellow survivor to motivate you on your active path to wellness.

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