Much of the news on the benefits of diet, fitness and attitude -- what I like to group together under the Whole Fitness umbrella -- focuses on prevention. I am among the first to jump on the wellness benefits bandwagon.
However, many of my clients, as well as much of the general population, don't come to wellness as prevention first. They often come to the idea of wellness only after a diagnosis of some scary medical condition.
One of the things I focus on with my clients is the benefits of whole fitness even after there has been a diagnosis of disease. There is concrete medical evidence that incorporating whole fitness into the treatment of many diseases can reduce symptoms, impact treatment and improve quality of life.
One particular disease that is very near and dear to me is cancer.
Cancer is the #2 killer of Americans, responsible for over 23% of all deaths and only second to heart disease, according to recent statistics prepared by the American Cancer Society. This year alone, an estimated 1.5 million new cases of cancer will be diagnosed.
How can the whole fitness approach impact cancer treatment?
Studies have found that exercise has positive effects on physical and psychological functioning of cancer patients... even while in treatment. Some of the benefits of adding a whole fitness regimen to cancer treatment are:
• decreased body fat
• increased lean muscle mass
• decreased nausea and fatigue
• improved natural defense mechanisms
• improved sense of control
• improved mood
• improved self-esteem
• self reported improved quality of life
Exercise has increasingly been recognized to help people stay with treatment and feel better about their life. Whole fitness can give cancer patients feelings of control and hope. It may even be a way to increase interaction with family and friends.
Any exercise program being used in conjunction with disease treatment should be recommended or supervised by the client's physician.
However, studies and experience continue to show that wellness can be incorporated at any age and any stage.
Alicia is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer and a Weight & Lifestyle Management consultant. The owner of Evolution Total Wellness in New York is also the author of "Oscar & Otis, Fat Fighters." For more information, visit OscarandOtis.com.