One of the components in healing from cancer that we recommend is exercise. Studies have shown that virtually any kind of physical activity will help cancer patients and survivors.
In particular, yoga has been lauded by a number of experts to be a gentle, yet effective, form of exercise to help heal the body, mind, and spirit. Yoga can be tailored to your body’s specific needs, without undue exertion or stress on your body.
A recent article in US News and World Report cited a study by Dr. Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, which evaluated yoga’s impact on breast cancer patients. In additional to the physical benefits, yoga also “appeared to reduce fatigue and improve mood.”
Yoga is great exercise for all cancer patients, including those healing from breast cancer. Among some of its additional benefits:
Reduce stress: One study found that practicing a seven-week yoga routine reduced the likelihood of developing “mood disturbance” by up to 65 percent.
Improve physical functioning: Yoga is a gentle and effective way to stay limber and active, especially if you’ve spent time in a hospital bed or sick at home, which can make the body stiff and less likely to move well. Regular yoga practice can help improve overall function, making it easier to move and complete daily tasks.
Sleep better: Healing from cancer requires rest, and yoga can help those suffering from insomnia to better relax at night. In addition, some research has found yoga can lead to improved sleep quality, allowing cancer patients to get to sleep and stay asleep longer.
Lower risk of recurrence: Dr. Maggie DiNome of the John Wayne Cancer Institute says regular yoga practice has led patients to reduce overall body fat density, “which can help reduce the risk of cancer recurrence.” Obesity has been cited as a risk factor for cancer, and regular exercise – including yoga- is one way to curb that risk.
Be sure to check with your health care provider before beginning any exercise program, including yoga. Your practitioner can also provide additional recommendations, including wellness programs and resources in your community.