Many cancer survivors and astronauts have something in common: their bodies can experience years of aging after only a few month of treatment – or space flight. Exercise can help, says Jessica Scott, PhD, a Principal Investigator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Before focusing on cancer patients, Scott worked at the Johnson Space Center, helping astronauts keep their heart and muscles healthy. Here, she talks about the emerging field of exercise-oncology and how applying the research related to astronauts can help survivors prevent or slow accelerated aging.
The recently released Third Expert Report – Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: A Global Perspective, concludes that daily physical activity provides a powerful protection against cancer. The report recommends individuals to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity per week and for more protection to aim for 45 to 60 minutes per day. Another important part of the recommendation is “walk more and sit less.”
Getting regular physical activity is one of the ten recommendations in the report that altogether work as a lifestyle package for cancer prevention. Over the next several weeks we will break down the physical activity guidelines in the report to help you better understand what they mean for you and how you can apply them to your lifestyle and personal circumstances.
For cancer patients, research suggests that exercise offers plenty of benefits for long-term health and with cancer-related side effects. Yet patients face numerous challenges to meet the aerobic and strength training recommendations.
Now a study provides insights into improving adherence to a supervised exercise program among breast cancer patients, finding that attending an exercise program decreases as chemotherapy sessions increase. Cancer-related symptoms and appointments were among the most common reasons women did not attend the program.
The study was published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.