4 Benefits of Swimming for Cancer Patients

December 01, 2022 Posted by SwimRVA

Photo from SwimRVA Invitational 2022

Benefits of Swimming for Cancer Patients

Cancer patients, even those diagnosed with rare types of cancer, can tap into the benefits of exercise and lifestyle changes.

For instance, swimming might help you maintain your physical and mental health if you have mesothelioma, an asbestos-related respiratory cancer.

Swimming can help increase cancer patients’ mitochondria, red blood cells, capillaries, and blood volume, leading to increased oxygen delivery to their organs.

Consequently, regular swimming might help improve your energy levels and respiratory and cardiovascular function if you have cancer.

Like other cancer types, there are four stages of mesothelioma. Each stage shows different symptoms and requires specific treatments. Consult your doctor for advice on which physical activities are best for you.

Meanwhile, you might ask: can swimming help improve a cancer patient’s health? Also, if you’re new to aquatic activities, you might wonder about the best places to access swimming programs.

This article discusses the potential benefits of swimming for people with cancer, including rare types. If you’re a cancer patient looking for tips and suggestions on how to start swimming, you may also find this write-up helpful.

4 Potential Benefits of Swimming for People with Cancer

Here are four ways swimming activities can benefit you if you have cancer:

1.  Maintain a Physically Active Lifestyle

Physical activity means moving your muscles and using more energy than you would when you’re resting.

Regular swimming is a great way to stay fit and physically active during and after cancer treatment. Regular physical activity is essential, especially for individuals with severe illnesses.

Some cancer patients lose their motivation to exercise. Keeping a fitness routine may also seem pointless to them. However, a study showed that exercise, sports, and other physical activities could help people feel better physically, psychologically, and socially.

Everyone can benefit from regular exercise. For instance, exercising in water works for upper and lower body muscles, helping improve body composition, strength, and fitness.

Swim lessons could be a great way to start your fitness journey if you need help figuring out how and where to begin.

2.  Improve Sleep

Cancer patients may have difficulty sleeping for various reasons, like pain and anxiety.

Swimming might help you sleep better at night. For instance, in one study, older adults who engaged in regular aerobic exercise reported improved sleep and quality of life. The study examined all types of aerobic exercise, including ellipticals, Stairmaster, bicycles, pools, and exercise videos.

3.  Boost Mood

Swimming might help improve your mood, even if you have a condition that causes pain.

For example, swimming can effectively reduce pain and improve functional capacity and quality of life in patients with fibromyalgia. This condition causes chronic pain throughout the body.

Symptoms like fatigue, muscle loss, and joint pain can come with some cancer treatments. So, people usually think resting is best during and after treatment. However, staying active helps manage symptoms like fatigue and pain.

For example, the buoyancy effect of water can ease joint pain during exercise. Additionally, water-based exercises can reduce swelling after surgery or other treatments.

4.  Manage Stress

As indicated above, swimming might also benefit cancer patients’ mental health.

Mental and emotional-related health benefits are particularly crucial since cancer patients typically experience stress and anxiety during and after treatment.

Regular physical activity like swimming can help you manage cancer or cancer treatment-related stress.  An individual’s life experience affects their vulnerability to stress. Mental disorders are more likely to strike people with negative life experiences.  However, exercises like swimming might improve your resilience to stress.

Like other forms of exercise, swimming can benefit your physical and mental well-being. Also, maintaining a regular swimming routine can help improve mood and sleep and reduce anxiety and stress.

Getting Started With Swimming

Even if you have cancer, you can still swim and exercise in water. Still, there are some things you need to keep in mind.

One of the best ways to begin swimming is to attend swimming lessons. It’s better to attend specialized classes and programs to help build physical, psychological, and social health.  Those sessions are usually designed to improve your fitness and overall quality of life while decreasing your risk of injury or disease.

Many pools have water aerobics classes if you want an extra boost. Make sure you sign up for a class that meets your fitness level.

Exercising in water offers various physical and mental benefits if you want to be more active. Remember to practice healthy and safe swimming behaviors in the water, so you don’t get sick or injured.

Knowing what precautions to take based on your cancer stage and treatment can help you manage your symptoms and recover better.

References

Swimming as Exercise Prescription for Breast Cancer Patients
https://journals.lww.com/nsca-scj/fulltext/2013/12000/swimming_as_exercise_prescription_for_breast.7.aspx

The Importance of Physical Activity Exercise among Older People

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6304477/#

Aerobic exercise improves self-reported sleep and quality of life in older adults with insomnia

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2992829/

Swimming Improves Pain and Functional Capacity of Patients With Fibromyalgia: A Randomized Controlled Trial

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26903145/

Swimming exercise reduces the vulnerability to stress and contributes to the AKT/GSK3β/CRMP2 pathway and microtubule dynamics mediated protective effects on neuroplasticity in male C57BL/6 mice

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091305721001842


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