Exercise for Mesothelioma

Exercise is almost universally recommended for patients who are able.

Doctors believe that working out can help patients in a variety of ways. For example, exercise can improve your quality of life, increase your muscle mass, lessen the fatigue and positively impact your mood. Often, exercising for 30-minutes two or three times weekly is all that it takes for patients to reap the rewards. 

Improving the Quality of Your Life

Oncologists have found that a lack of activity can lead to poor appetite, fatigue and muscle weakness. People who are diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer that most often arises from exposure to asbestos, may experience chest pains, breathing difficulties and a lowered energy level. Even low impact activities can be a way of improving the quality of a patient’s life. Over time, the more that the body gets activity, the better that it will feel and the more capable of continuing activity for longer durations it will be.

What are the Benefits?

There are a variety of benefits that come with staying active. First, exercise can improve sleep quality, muscular fitness, mental health and cardiorespiratory fitness. As someone who may have received a mesothelioma diagnosis, you may have even more reasons to exercise your body, if you are able. Exercise boosts energy levels and can reduce pain such as peripheral neuropathy. During various studies, patients experienced fewer symptoms like breathlessness and they had improved muscular strength. 

Don’t Overdo It

Patients should be cautious not to overdo their exercise regimens, as this can be counterproductive. However, developing a good workout regimen can help you to fight back against the ill effects of the diagnosis. People who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, however, often experience fatigue and breathlessness both of which can limit activity. Nevertheless, activity seems to lower some of the symptoms associated with illnesses like mesothelioma, while inactivity has been shown to increase symptoms and make them worse. An individual should plan their exercise regimens by first discussing with their doctor and planning to go slow, often with low-impact exercises, and building from there. 

Some examples of low impact exercises that a patient might consider include restorative yoga, walking, swimming, qigong, lightweight strength training and cycling or elliptical training. Low impact activity has been shown to boost the immune system, which can help to fight back against the illness. 

Conversely, high-intensity exercise has been shown to suppress the immune system, which could be counterproductive for patients with mesothelioma. Patients with mesothelioma avoid high-intensity activities like heavy weightlifting, power yoga, long-distance running and fast cardiovascular training unless approved by your doctor.