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12/08/2011

benefits of exercise (a guest post)

Since starting this blog, I've been approached to host different giveaways as well as to publish articles about different topics. I've said no to every opportunity except for one - this one.

Having suffered from illness (with no real cause or understanding in some cases), I know how important exercise is. I'm still very much in the midst of my journey, but I am finding that all aspects of my life are imroving. It's because of my experiences, and learning on a daily basis how much my body needs exericse, that I'm sharing this information with you today.

Melanie Bowen is a part-time blog contributor at Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance and also has her own personal blog - Milady Knows. She is advocate for natural health and cancer patients. She also assists in social media outreach in her efforts to spread awareness. You can also find Melanie on twitter and facebook. Thank you so much for sharing your information, and passions, with me and my readers, Melanie!



It is a well-known fact that exercise can improve our physical and mental well-being. It burns fat, builds muscle, and makes us look better. That is the reason most of us do it, but exercise isn't just about making us look better; it's about making us feel better as well. There are a number of health benefits to exercise, so it makes sense that it will help those with a chronic or terminal illness feel better and increase life expectancy.

Exercise can help with an abundance of chronic and terminal illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, depression, and fibromyalgia. Even patients with lung conditions like asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or mesothelioma can feel physical and psychological improvement when diet and exercise are added to their treatment plan. So what are the physical benefits of exercise?

Other than trimming the waist, exercise helps make us feel better and promote longevity, especially when used alongside a healthy diet. Some physical benefits include lower cholesterol and blood pressure, strengthening of the heart, stress reduction, decreased blood sugar levels, and increased muscle strength. Exercise is also beneficial in the way of increasing energy levels and endurance, raising the body's capability to fight infection, improving sleep patterns, and reducing shortness of breath according to National Jewish Health. Healthy adults who do not exercise usually lack energy, get out of breath easily, have trouble doing simple physical activities, and can be overweight. Add an illness to that and imagine how run down it can make you feel. Failing to exercise can make a chronic or terminal illness worse, in turn making it harder to fight. When exploring and consulting with a doctor for their opinions on overall health and wellness outside of traditional treatment, one should be motivated to start their path of clarity and healing.

Many terminal illnesses, especially cancer treatment, expose patients to radiation and chemicals, causing pain, weakness, nausea, and vomiting. Exercise increases strength, lung function, and overall health, making it easier to conquer the side effects of treatment. Another benefit patients will see is stress and depression relief. Exercise gives them an outlet for all of the negative emotions they are feeling. Getting up and moving around gives them a sense of accomplishment and lets them feel in control. Instead of lying in bed letting the illness get to them, they are taking charge and increasing their body's ability to fight the disease.

Deciding to start an exercise regimen is the first step to improving recovery. Your doctor will know the best thing for your body, and together you can decide what will work for you. You don't have to go to a gym to get the exercise you need either. You can do simple things in your home like walking up and down the hall or stairs, lifting light objects such as soup cans, or following a fitness video. All you need to do is start moving. Before you know it, you will be feeling better, both physically and emotionally.

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