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Benefits Of Exercise For Cervical Cancer

Written by Reshma Pathare on Tue, 05 September 2023 — Fact checked by Dr. Stefanenko Irina Borisovna

Key Highlights

  • There are multiple benefits of exercise for cancer patients that help steady the body, as well as support it during and post-recovery.  
  • Exercises for cervical cancer specifically help build strength with pelvic floor muscles and counteract the side effects of treatment.  
  • While no exercise can cure the disease, even simple yoga poses for cancer patients have been known to alleviate the state of mind that one is in and provide much-needed emotional aid.  
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Cervical cancer happens in the cells of the cervix. It is located in the lower part of the uterus, or womb, that connects to the vagina. The cervix plays a crucial role in the reproductive system, allowing the passage of menstrual blood and serving as the entrance to the uterus during childbirth.

During this time, precancerous changes may occur in the cells of the cervix, which can be detected through regular cervical screening tests such as Pap smears or HPV tests.

While exercise can’t entirely be taken as a means of preventing cancer, it’s a great way to remain fit, and important towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Studies also claim that it helps in regulating hormones, strengthening heart and lungs, and increasing overall energy.

Exercise for cervical cancer treatment and recovery can also offer several benefits to individuals.

Benefits Of Exercise For Cancer Patients

1. Improved physical strength

  • Regular exercise can help maintain and improve physical strength, which may be affected during cancer treatment.
  • Strengthening exercises can target various muscle groups and help prevent muscle weakness and loss.

2. Increased energy levels

  • Engaging in physical activity, even in moderate amounts, can boost energy levels and reduce fatigue commonly associated with cancer treatment.
  • While it's important to balance activity with rest, exercise has been shown to improve overall energy and reduce feelings of tiredness.

3. Enhanced mood and mental well-being

  • Exercise has a positive impact on mental health and can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Breathing exercises for cancer patients can aid in the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting chemicals in the brain, promoting a sense of well-being and relaxation.

4. Reduced treatment side effects

  • Physical activity can also alleviate and manage certain treatment side effects.
  • For example, it may help reduce pain, improve range of motion, and counteract the side effects of chemotherapy, such as nausea, by increasing appetite and overall well-being.

5. Maintained range of motion and flexibility

  • Certain cancer treatments and surgeries may affect range of motion and flexibility. Regular stretching exercises and several yoga poses for cancer patients can help maintain or improve flexibility.
  • They also reduce muscle stiffness and prevent the development of contractures or scar tissue.

6. Improved cardiovascular health

  • Engaging in cardiovascular exercises like walking, swimming, or cycling can help improve cardiovascular fitness, strengthen the heart and lungs, and enhance circulation.
  • This can have overall positive effects on health and stamina.

7. Weight management

  • Cancer treatments can sometimes lead to weight changes. Regular exercise, when combined with a balanced diet, can help manage body weight and prevent excessive weight gain or loss.
  • Aerobic exercise for cancer patients, as well as exercises like pilates also add to weight management efforts.

8. Enhanced bone health

  • Some cancer treatments, such as hormone therapy or certain chemotherapy drugs, can have an impact on bone health.
  • Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking or light strength training, can help maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

9. Improved sleep

  • Physical activity has been linked to better sleep quality and duration. Incorporating exercise into your routine may help regulate sleep patterns and improve overall sleep quality, which is important for healing and well-being.
  • Yoga for cervical cancer, and even in general, can stimulate your nerves and result in better sleep.
  • Remember to consult with your healthcare team before starting any exercise program, as they can provide guidance based on your individual circumstances and treatment plan. They can help determine the appropriate type, intensity, and duration of exercise that is suitable for you during cervical cancer treatment.

Some exercises for cervical cancer

Some exercises for cervical cancer

Cervical cancer patients may experience a range of physical and emotional challenges during their treatment journey. While exercise cannot cure cervical cancer, it can be beneficial in maintaining strength and flexibility, reducing treatment-related side effects, and enhancing quality of life.

Some exercises that can be helpful are listed below.

1. Gentle Stretching

  • Perform gentle stretches to maintain or improve flexibility and relieve muscle tension. Focus on stretching the shoulders, neck, and upper back muscles.
  • Consult a physical therapist for specific exercises that suit your needs, or ease issues, if any.

2. Deep Breathing Exercises

  • Deep breathing exercises for cancer patients are especially helpful. They can help relax the body, reduce stress, and promote a sense of calm. Take slow, deep breaths.
  • Inhaling deeply through your nose and exhaling slowly through your mouth can help with the body’s fatigue and ease mental stress.

Deep Breathing Exercises

3. Walking

  • Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be adapted to various fitness levels. Start with short walks and gradually increase your duration and pace as tolerated.
  • Walking can improve cardiovascular fitness, boost mood, and provide a gentle form of physical activity.

4. Light Strength-training

  • Engage in light strength training exercises to maintain muscle tone and strength. Use light weights or resistance bands to perform exercises targeting different muscle groups.
  • Start with low resistance and gradually increase intensity as advised by your healthcare team.

5. Yoga or Tai Chi

  • Gentle forms of yoga or tai chi can improve flexibility, balance, and overall well-being.
  • Look for classes specifically designed for individuals with cancer or those focusing on yoga poses for cancer patients which include gentle movements, relaxation, and stress reduction.

6. Water-based Exercises

  • After consultation with a doctor, consider water-based exercises like swimming or water aerobics. The buoyancy of water supports the body and reduces strain.
  • These exercises provide a low-impact workout that is gentle on the joints and adds to general strength building.

7. Pelvic Floor Exercises

  • These exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles. They may be beneficial for individuals who have undergone pelvic surgery or radiation therapy.
  • Consult with a physical therapist or a healthcare professional for guidance on performing these exercises correctly.

Pelvic Floor Exercises

Conclusion

In conclusion, exercise for cervical cancer can emerge as a powerful ally in the battle against cervical cancer. By incorporating regular physical activity into their lives, individuals can experience a range of benefits that support their overall well-being.

From improved physical fitness and strengthened immune function to reduced treatment side effects and enhanced mental resilience, exercise offers a holistic approach to managing cervical cancer. Moreover, exercise promotes a sense of empowerment, allowing individuals to take an active role in their own health journey.

Start slowly and progress gradually. It’s important that one listens to the body’s needs and adjusts the intensity of exercises whenever required. Remember to tailor activity to individual abilities and limitations. Participate in group classes or group therapy programs specifically designed, like yoga for cervical cancer, and create a network of emotional and social support.

While cancer can be a grueling journey, physical exercise has been known to ease its effects and add to the body’s capacity to fight. Its support to mental health, especially, is one that cannot be discounted.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best exercise for cancer patients can vary depending on several factors, including the type and stage of cancer, overall health, treatment plan, and personal preferences. Generally, strength training, stretching, balance exercises, and even aerobic exercise for cancer patients are considered to be great. Mind-body exercises like yoga and meditation also help.

Yes, physical exercise can be highly beneficial for cancer patients. Engaging in regular exercise can have a positive impact on bodily and emotional well-being throughout the cancer journey. Not only is there improved physical function and increased energy levels at such a draining time, but one also can boost one’s mood through the release of endorphins. While there is no exercise for cervical cancer patients that can cure the disease, exercises help in boosting immunity and reducing treatment side effects. 

While the benefits of exercise for cancer patients are immense, they’re not the only factors contributing to making them stronger. Exercise needs to be coupled with a balanced diet and a good amount of rest and sleep, all of which lead to the gradual building up of a healthy body. 

Cancer patients can engage in a multitude of activities depending on their individual circumstances. Light activities like some recommended aerobic exercises for cancer patients are great for them. In addition, participating in social activities and doing mind-body activities are also well within their abilities and good for them.  

Much like other things, sleep too is specific to different situations. Although there is no set number that applies, generally 7-9 hours is considered to be good. It’s important to monitor the same depending on the treatment, fatigue, distress, and quality of sleep that one experiences.  

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Reshma Pathare

Reshma Kulkarni-Pathare has been a self-employed media professional since 1999. Starting off as a Freelance Journalist for Times of India Thane Plus, Reshma went onto write for more than 45 national and international publications including Times of India, New Woman, Femina, Indian Express, The Hindu, BBC Good Homes and many more. While her forte has been lifestyle writing, she is equally proficient in writing health articles. Her health articles have been published in Health International (Dubai), New Woman, Femina, and Mother & Baby.

Apart from being a journalist, Reshma also works as a copy-editor for self-publishing houses and academic journals.

She is an award-winning bi-lingual translator with more than 12 books published in her name.

She has been a Visiting Faculty Member for post-graduate department of mass media at MET College (Mumbai) and Welingkar WeSchool (Mumbai).

She has worked as a Consumer Marketing Insights Researcher for global organizations like CEB Iconoculture (USA) and Gartner (USA).

Consolidating her multifarious skills in the media, in 2021, Reshma launched her own boutique media agency called Talking Turkey Communications, which specializes in content writing, editing, and translation.

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Our team of experts frequently monitors developments in the health and wellness field, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

Current Version

Sep, 05 2023

Written By

Reshma Pathare

Fact checked By

Dr. Stefanenko Irina Borisovna