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Jacqueline Drouin, M.S., and Lucinda Pfalzer, Ph.D.
Exercise is good medicine. According to the Surgeon General's 2006 Report on Physical Activity and Health, exercise performed on a regular basis provides numerous health benefits. Furthermore, the recently published 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans concluded that regular physical activity reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes. For most health outcomes, additional benefits occur as the amount of physical activity increases through higher intensity, greater frequency, and/or longer duration. This advice applies to people with a diagnosis of cancer. People with cancer benefit from regular exercise in terms of managing symptoms related to their disease and its treatment.
Movement is joyful. Good athletes listen to their bodies and know when they need activity and when they need rest. If you have not been active, you may not be aware of when your body needs to exercise. You may wish to begin gradually to train your body to exercise and appreciate activity. Feeling "down" or "blue" is not the same as needing rest. Getting out and exercising rejuvenates your body and your spirit. Even people who feel weak or tired report gaining energy from a good bout of physical activity.