Exercise Physiology

Cancer and Exercise

1 in 2 Australians will develop cancer by the age of 85. Odds are you've been touched by it or someone close to you has. Recently, Catalyst on the ABC released a story about how exercise is significantly improving health outcomes for patients currently undergoing treatment for cancer. 

A landmark study that is being carried out at the Exercise Medicine Research Institute in Perth has begun to show promising scientific evidence and anecdotal stories about how exercise can improve the well being of cancer patients. In this study patients have a prescribed exercise program under the guidance of an Exercise Physiologist on the same days as they underwent chemo or radiation treatment. Soon we may see Exercise Physiology gyms or clinics right next to where patients receive chemo treatment. 

So how is exercise helping these patients?

Typically, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy can see a 10-15% decline in muscle mass. But in the 38 patients who have gone through the exercise program, there was no muscle wastage - in some cases there was muscle mass gained. Maintaining or increasing your muscle mass can have a range of health benefits:

  • Help regulate blood glucose levels and decrease risk of Type 2 Diabetes
  • Have an impact on bone health and decrease your risk of osteoporosis
  • Improve Physical function and quality of life
  • Improve mental health and decrease levels of depression and anxiety
  • Help maintain a healthy weight. During treatment we often want to avoid loosing weight and a lot of the time this loss comes from a loss of muscle mass
  • Maintain strength and endurance

Not only does this improve the health and function of a patient but it improves their capability to complete the full course of chemotherapy. These results are important because there is no pharmaceutical intervention that can stop the decline in muscle mass - only highly targeted, prescribed exercise has been shown to do so. 

Anecdotal stories about patients feeling less fatigued and nauseous as a result of doing exercise during chemotherapy or radiation have also been found in the study. 

A collection of research papers have been able to illustrate the mechanism by which exercise works to help fight cancer. One likely explanation is the increase of blood flow that comes with doing exercise. Tumours have a poor blood supply, but exercise can increase the flow of chemotherapy chemicals to get inside the tumour, where it's needed. Another explanation is that exercise can up-regulate the immune system so that it's better at fighting cancer, by the increased release of a chemical called interleukin 6. 

Where does exercise physiology fit in?

If you are currently undergoing cancer treatment or recovering from treatment, it is important to see an exercise physiologist about addressing your exercise needs. Exercise physiologists have a greater depth of knowledge surrounding cancer: how the treatments can affect exercise programming, as well as what type of exercise you need. 

It is important to know that the type of cancer you have will determine what type of exercise is most appropriate for your health needs. For example, a study from 2009 found that in men who had Prostate Cancer and were undergoing androgen-deprivation therapy were at risk of significant bone loss and higher chance of increased visceral fat around the organs. In this study jumping exercise and resistance training were the best type of exercise to maintain bone mass.

Talk to us today about seeing one of our Accredited Exercise Physiologists to make a specific and individualized exercise program that will result in the most health benefit for you. Please contact us on 0419 287 631 or info@bblifestyleclinic.com.au.

If you are interested in the full story from Catalyst check out the link here: http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/4459555.htm 






Is the way you are exercising right for you?

Exercise Right Week (23-29th of May) has kicked off and our Exercise Physiologists are ready to talk to you about the amazing effects that exercise can have on your life.

This year, the campaign has one question for you to consider: Is the way you are exercising right for you?

I think we all know that being more physically active is beneficial for our health. For example, it can help stop us maintain a healthy weight, protect us against heart disease and stroke, improve our strength for strong bones and to keep doing the things we love. But is there one approach to exercise that can suit all our health needs?

The answer is no – there is no one cookie-cutter approach to exercise.

No one person’s health journey is the same and by the same token, no one exercise program will suit everyone. As Exercise Physiologists we  liken exercise or movement to medicine. When the doctor prescribes you medication, there is a specific type of medicine you are prescribed. You are advised to take a certain dose, perhaps in the morning or in the evening. In the same way, exercise needs to be specified to what your health needs and goals are. Otherwise, there is the risk that it might not give you the results you want and it can even be harmful.

Some tips to help you find what exercise is right for you:

Right Professional

It is important that you find the right professional to consult, based on who you are and your uniqueness. The right health professional will have the experience and knowledge required to help you get back on track to being healthier. Exercise physiologists are university-qualified health professionals who have an in-depth knowledge of how exercise can improve certain certain health conditions, rehab injuries and find an exercise program that is right for your lifestyle and exercise-based goals. They specialise in helping you make long-term lifestyle changes to keep you happy and healthy for the years to come.

Right Place

Who you are will affect where is best for you to exercise in a safe and effective way. While at face value this may seem like common sense, it is a bit more complicated than you think. For example, if you have osteoarthritis, walking may be very painful. It could be that swimming places a lot less stress on your joints and is more favourable than walking outdoors. Or you may be one of those people that can't stand gyms and finds them intimidating so a home exercise program or exercising outdoors might help you stick to your exercise plans.

Right Time

The best time to exercise during the day will depend on your individual health needs. Exercising in the morning can be more painful for people with osteoarthritis. Similarly, certain medication can negatively affect your ability to do exercise at some times of the day. In addition if you have a busy lifestyle with family or work commitments we may need to work on finding the best time to exercise and scheduling it into your diary.

Would you like some help to create and do an exercise program that is tailor made for you?

This is where our team of Exercise Physiologists can help you! They are able to help you formulate an exercise program that will be tailored to what you want. Exercise Physiologists have a great understanding of the body, a range of chronic health conditions and injuries and how exercise can be used in different ways to improve your health, fitness and quality of life.

To celebrate Exercise Right Week we want to give you a gift to help encourage you to Exercise Right for your uniqueness! Receive half price when you book in for your Initial Assessment if you book in before the 4th of June (Appointment needs to be booked before this time, but you session can be after this date).