Age Healthily – Mindful Movement and Cancer Recovery
Arguably the most feared disease is cancer. It is the second leading cause of death in advanced countries. In the US it accounts for over a half a million deaths annually. But, even if cancer is survived the debilitating effects of the disease may so weaken the individual to interfere with further recovery from the cancer or can lead to death from other causes.
Fatigue and distress are common symptoms among cancer survivors. This can lead to declines in quality of life, and poor adherence to cancer treatment. For older survivors, fatigue and distress can become debilitating. The survivors lack the energy to manage the side effects of the treatments. The fatigue can also impair the elderly person’s ability to stave off other age-related diseases. It can also further exacerbate the declines in physical functioning associated with aging. The joint effect of all of these fatigue related issues may create a downward spiral towards poor health and functioning. This can threaten their ability to maintain their independence into late life or even their life itself.
In today’s Research News article, “Levels of Fatigue and Distress in Senior Prostate Cancer Survivors Enrolled in a 12-Week Randomized Controlled Trial of Qigong,”
it is discovered that engaging in an ancient practice of mindful movement, Qi Gong, helps to relieve the fatigue and distress resulting from recovery from prostate cancer.
This is a potentially important finding as mindful movement practices are virtually an ideal exercise for the elderly. The slow mindful movements tend to increase mindfulness and also improve muscle strength and balance. The increased mindfulness can lead to marked psychological benefits of greater happiness and engagement in life as well as decreased depression and anxiety.
The increased muscle strength tends to help counteract the deterioration of the muscles associated with aging. While the improved balance aids in preventing falls that can have disastrous consequences given the fragile bones of the elderly. Mindful movement can do all of this and not produce further problems since the practice is not stressful on the muscles and bones. So it can be practiced without fear of injury.
So, engage in mindful movement practice and improve health particularly if your recovering from a debilitating health challenge.