Moderate Walking Fights Cancer

Exercise is a critical component of good health, especially as you age. The trick is to find the right exercise program for you and stick to it. What good does exercise do, however, when you're sick, or even suffering from cancer?

More than you think, according to a U.K. study that showed staying active through moderate walking may help prevent fatigue in men undergoing radiation therapy for prostate cancer.

Historically, cancer patients develop fatigue as the stress of the illness and the physical effects of treatment take their toll, and it's common for patients undergoing treatment to be told to take it easy, and some may impose their own limits on daily activities.

Researchers who studied 66 men with cancer confined to the prostate gland, found those who were physically active during their month of radiation treatment showed no substantial increase in fatigue. The same was not true of patients in the non-exercising control group.

Because the findings are in line with research on women undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for breast cancer, such results could potentially apply to all groups of patients with cancer.

While rest may be the intuitive response to fatigue, too much inactivity can make the problem worse. Long periods of rest may de-condition muscles and roll back a person's capacity for exercise, making even routine daily tasks tough to tackle. Exercise, on the other hand, keeps muscles conditioned, so that everyday activities require less effort and are less taxing on the body. In addition, exercise combats depression, which can alter patients' perceptions of fatigue.

Yahoo News August 18, 2004

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