The Benefits of Biking for Cancer Patients

This is a guest blog by Virgil Anderson, a cancer patient who campaigns to encourage other cancer patients to take up cycling.

Cancer can be a very isolating ailment. Patients who don't feel well might retreat to their bedrooms for days on end. Exercise and socializing are the last things on their minds. However, some activity is critical during treatment and recovery. Patients who recognize this fact can prioritize movement as part of their daily routine. Consider the act of cycling as a conduit toward a healthy body. Many cancer patients thrive with this activity in their lives.

Stress Relief

It's no secret that excessive stress is harmful to the human body. Constant worrying can push a patient's immune system to the brink where their ailment becomes worse. According to the MD Anderson Cancer Center, cycling (and so also mountain biking) can reduce stress by encouraging endorphin releases. As the mountain biking effort continues, mesothelioma and lung-cancer sufferers will feel a rush of good feelings. Endorphins offer a feeling of peace to the person. They will fade away, which makes regular cycling a necessity for anyone looking to relieve stress.

Opening Up Airways

The biggest complaint among mesothelioma and lung-cancer patients is difficulty breathing. Cycling offers a reprieve from this situation. As the cyclists gain speed, the heart beats faster than its resting rate. Increased heart rates lead to faster blood flows through the arteries and veins. The blood transfers oxygen to the tissues at a faster pace as a result. The lungs have improved function as the mountain biking continues. This exercise conditions the heart and lungs to work better than before.

Impacts Remain Minimal

Many cancer patients are concerned about aggravating their health condition with a biking adventure. They believe it'll be too rough on their bodies. Patients shouldn't head out to an extreme off-road adventure in the Alps or Ardennes. In fact, patients can just stick to urban cycle paths or easy woodland paths and then they will be entirely comfortable. The impacts to the joints and muscles are completely minimized when cancer patients take an easy ride out in the afternoon. They will still receive a quality workout with no hint of injury at the tissue level. Of course, if you're not sure about your own situation, you should check with your own doctor.

Weight-Control Perks

Some patients deal with cancer treatment and remission for many years afterwards. Gaining weight is a real concern for any lung-cancer patient. The extra kilos create strain against the lungs, which makes it harder to breathe.

Hopping on a bike for regular rides fights off weight gain. Patients can eat normal meals with some indulgences while still maintaining a lean figure. Any extra weight creates other issues with the body, including high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. Controlling it with a pastime is the best way to feel healthy throughout recovery.

Muscle-Building Opportunity

According to Bicycling Magazine, the muscles surrounding the lungs get a workout with a regular cycling regimen. It's not necessary for bikers to ride intensely either. A moderate pace of 30 or 45 minutes several times a week improves the average cancer patient's muscles at a comfortable pace. Breathing deeply is possible after conditioning the heart, lungs and blood vessels. Other muscles gain strength too, which further improves a person's prognosis.

Increasing Bone Density

Cancer patients also have an issue with bone density as they deal with their ailment. The body is robbed of nutrients during chemotherapy and radiation. Patients need strong bones in general, however. By riding a bike, the moving muscles create strain on the bones. The skeleton reacts with increased cell production across every surface. As a result, patients see a stronger body with the help of their biking efforts.

Getting to Know Your Neighbors

There's no doubt that the social aspect impacts a patient's success in treatment and recovery. Cycling can be a social activity and there are cycling and mountain biking clubs in every city in the Netherlands. Take a casual ride to the woods or around the neighbourhood. Discuss interesting topics during the workout. If patients weren't fans of bike riding before, the social aspect might change their minds. Feeling accepted and sharing a laugh can be medicine too. Patients who don't have a strong support system will have a much different experience as they go through recovery.

A person's health depends on a number of factors, from the food they eat to activity levels every day. It doesn't matter if patients cycle outdoors or at the gym, these movements give rise to a healthier body than before. Recovery and remission are possible with cycling as a main component of anyone's lifestyle.