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Cycling could help cancer patients with their recovery

Aerobic exercise, particularly cycling, can help during and after treatment

Aerobic exercise, particularly a gentle form like cycling and walking, can help with recovery from cancer, a study has shown.

Researchers from the University of Bristol have found that in a study of 2,600 people, many of whom had breast cancer, physical activity both during and after cancer treatment was tied to improved energy. In particular, aerobic exercise such as walking and cycling tended to reduce fatigue more than resistance training.

"We're not expecting people to go out and be running a mile the next day," Fiona Cramp, who worked on the analysis at the University of the West of England in Bristol, told Reuters.

"Some people will be well enough that they're able to go for a jog or go for a bike ride, and if they can, that's great. But we would encourage people to start with a low level."

"What we do know is there will be an appreciable difference; the average patient will get a benefit from physical activity," Cramp said, though the actual benefit will vary.

The results of this study go against the received wisdom about cancer, which generally goes that patients will be very much tired out by treatments including radiotherapy and chemotherapy, and should take it easy to reserve their energy.

Instead, the researchers say, light exercise could be the key to actually increasing energy and wellbeing.

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Abbie | 11 years ago

Well Being is the key. Obviously if you can't and have never ridden a bike then your in trouble! I've got Rheumatoid Arthritis and cycling again after a gap of 10 years is so exhilarating. The freedom it gives you. It releases endorphins that ease pain. And the pain you feel on those big hills makes you forget about any other pains you have. Today I rode 20 miles in the winter sun looking over at snowdonia. And repeating 'How lucky am I'.

Griffsters | 11 years ago

I wonder if one of the 2600 people asked was Lance Armstrong? Could have told a few porkies mind...

antonio | 11 years ago

Cycling certainly helped me after prostate cancer treatment, plus one for the article.

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