Cancer: Hospital Stays and Exercise

Cancer; hospital stays and exercise is something that is very important when trying to improve one’s health.  When in the hospital and not feeling well; exercise can be very difficult at times. I remember many times not feeling well when I was a teenager fighting leukemia and not feeling well enough to want to do much.  That being said; I knew that if I didn’t at least do some exercise every day; when I didn’t feel nauseous or have a fever; that it would be much harder when I started getting healthier.   When your muscles aren’t in use they atrophy, which is muscle weakening.  Other things that can happen by not exercising enough in the hospital or loss of blood circulation, bed sores, and decreased lung capacity  to name a few.

There are little things that don’t take too much effort and strength that can work wonders while in the hospital and prevent many of the negatives of lack of exercise and being in a hospital bed too long. Spending much time in a hospital bed and not enough time walking or standing can throw off one’s balance.  Great, easy exercise to do while in the hospital is just balancing on one foot at a time for 10 seconds.  If one needs a little assistance to help that’s fine; use a hospital chair to start off.  Balancing helps keep the muscles from atrophy and help preventing an unexpected fall from weak and unbalanced body.

Abs exercises are pretty easy to do and can even be done in a hospital bed. Doing bed sit ups while lifting legs to meet your elbows is great way to build abs muscles.  Try to hold for at least 8 seconds or even longer if possible.   Make sure to get doctors consent if you’ve recently had a procedure or feel nauseous.

Legs are another muscle that can atrophy pretty quickly if you don’t use them. Leg raises and extensions are 2 easy exercises that you can either do in a chair or in a bed and don’t take too much effort.  Arms are similar and can also atrophy pretty fast.  If strong enough I recommend getting light weight dumb bells or weight bands and do biceps and triceps exercises.  Working on the shoulders is also very useful to helping your upper body strength.

Increasing blood circulation is very important during a hospital stay especially if it’s a few week stay. Blood clots can happen if one doesn’t get up and move around enough.  This can lead to other complications that can extend the hospital stay even more.  The best thing to prevent loss of blood circulation is walking.  If one is still weak walking I recommend getting a nurse, family, or friend to assist or even get a walker if needed to help keep balance and less risk of falling down.

The tips I have offered should give you insight on what to do to make sure your hospital stay is one that benefits your health and  keeps you strong and on the road to recovery.  If any questions or concerns regarding how much exercise and frequency in your situation; I recommend talking to your healthcare professional.Exercise photo

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