Research shows that cancer survivors may benefit from weight training. Resistance training is exercise that uses weights, weight machines or elastic bands.
The study, published last year in "Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise", looked at both men and women who were being treated or had completed treatment for cancer (breast, prostate and head/neck cancers).
Participants did light to moderate resistance training two to three times a week. Early results after 12 weeks showed that participants increased muscle mass and decreased body fat.
After one year, the effects continued with participants reporting a positive effect on their quality of life with a notable decrease in cancer-related fatigue, which is a common and long-lasting symptom reported in cancer survivors.
Resistance training can help to increase strength, range of motion and balance which is important as survivors recover and move on to life after treatment. Exercising with free weights and resistance bands is inexpensive and easy to work into a home routine.
If you'd like to get started, ask for a referral to meet with an exercise physiologist, physical therapist or rehabilitation specialist who can provide the tools and knowledge you need to learn the proper technique. While resistance training is safe for most people, it's always wise to check with your provider to see if it's a good idea for you.
Remember to begin slowly with lower intensity until you feel comfortable moving up a level to higher intensity. Even low intensity exercises make a difference.
I'd love to hear from survivors who have tried resistance training. What's been your experience?
Connect also on the Living with Cancer blog here-