Cancer and Exercise: The Fight after the Fight

06 Mar

Cancer and Exercise:

The Fight after the Fight

What to do after chemo?

What is “chemo brain”? For those of use who are unfamiliar with the term, it refers to the after effect of chemotherapy. What kind of impact does it have on the brain? Unfortunately, we probably all know someone who is going through or has been through cancer. What is it really like?

When a tumor develops in the body, it instinctually defends itself by releasing cytokines. They regulate cell production in the body. Imagine an army of enemy cancer cells lined up to invade your body. Cytokines line up to defend the invasion. They just have to call in a lot of troops for back up. This army defends the invasion by limiting the amount of cancer cells that develop. During this time leads to inflammation in the nervous system. This in turn has a great impact on it’s capacity to function.

Chemotherapy limits the bodies’ ability to create new brain cells which specifically regulate memory. Growth of the tumor and chemotherapy lead to shrinkage in the brain.  The information notes, it’s specifically in areas that are responsible for memory.

What Can You Do?

This is Harry. He suffered from Glioblastoma. He came to us after his first round of chemotherapy in 2016. Unable to walk unnassited when he first joined, here’s an example of his exercise program. We taught him how to step up and down unassisted. Not a small feat. Especially knowing now what I know about Chemo and it’s impact on the brain. Just goes to show you that exercise can have a positive effect on those managing cancer.

Stepping UP in the world

Harry's Journey:For those of you who have been following Harry, earlier this year we were happy to share his Glioblastoma has not returned! Having such an aggressive form of cancer affected his balance and mobility. We are proud to share this moment 🙂 He is now able to step up and down on his own! No longer using a cane or walker to get around. He is truly an inspiration.Keep up the amazing work Harry!

Posted by All Fit All Ages Gym on Thursday, March 23, 2017

“Chemo brain” refers to the cogntition impairment due to chemotherapy. A sort of “brain fog” if you will, that affects quality of life.

A few key items were noted:

  1.  Exercise and an active lifestyle- creates and stimulates new brain cell growth in the memory centres of the brain. Delays the onset of dementia and slows the effects of age related memory loss.
  2. A Stimulating Environment- “Keeping socially active and keeping your brain challenged is known to delay the onset of dementia.”

I’ve always been adament about exercise when managing neurological disease such as dementia. In this case, exercise stimulates brain function in those suffering from cancer. This article clearly articulates the biological response that exercise has on the brain. Is exercise important? ABSOLUTELY! Look at Harry in the video above. If that isn’t proof, I don’t know what is.

Thanks for reading!

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