How Muscle Helps Survival Rates in serious illnesses such as cancer

Being diagnosed with a chronic condition like cancer is not the end of the road. In fact, with the right lifestyle adjustments, treatment plans, and a positive mindset, you can live a long and healthy life. Speaking of lifestyle choices, making the decision to work out more often and build muscle can greatly improve your odds of beating cancer. In fact, according to a report by Medical News Today, the risk of mortality in cancer patients decreases by 17% with muscle-strengthening activities. We sought to understand how and reached out to some of the best gyms in San Diego to get a clear perspective. Here’s what we found out. 

Giving your immune system a helping hand

Your immune system involves a complex link of proteins, cells, and organs that protect your body against pathogens. When it comes to serious illnesses such as cancer, your body responds by spending a special squad of T cells to attack the cancer. 

Exercise can provide the backup if you will, that these T cells need to get the better of cancerous cells. When you frequently work out, this encourages the release of myokines. These special proteins can destroy cancer cells, so if you pair exercise with therapy, you might just get the combination that helps you beat cancer. 

Regulating your blood pressure 

Hypertension is a significant risk factor for cancer. Additionally, it can also worsen the severity of symptoms for patients. However, when you build muscle through weight-lifting exercises, you can improve your cardiovascular health and strengthen your heart muscles. 

As a result, this helps your body to get oxygen and nutrients much faster to those cancer-fighting cells working overtime on the front lines.

We talked to a few personal training San Diego facilities, and they particularly recommend the following weightlifting exercise for fighting chronic diseases like cancer: 

  • Bench press
  • Deadlift
  • Bicep curls
  • Squats  

Since chemotherapy and cancer medication can cause your blood pressure to drop, exercise becomes even more important as it can improve blood pressure levels to further tilt the battle against cancer and other chronic illnesses in your favor. 

Helping you burn dangerous fat

Did you know that obesity is responsible for up to 8% of all cancers? Science has established strong links between being overweight and certain types of cancers, which further underlines the need for muscle-building workouts. 

After consulting with an experienced personal fitness trainer, we found out that exercise increases your resting metabolic rate and helps you burn more calories so that you can shed fat. The more fat you accumulate, the greater the inflammatory response your body attracts from immune system cells, which increases the generation of cancer-triggering cytokines. 

But by building muscle and exercising frequently, you can reduce fat and this inflammatory response and in turn nip the growth of cancer cells in the bud. This helps to slow down the growth of cancerous cells to give you a fighting chance at successful treatment. 

Boosting your reservoir of amino acids

The University of Alberta recently rounded up a review of over 150 studies about the effects of muscle mass on cancer. They found out that your muscle mass provides a secondary reserve for amino acids, which can help to: 

  • Lower hospital stays
  • Reduce cancer complications
  • Increase survival rates

So the more muscle mass you accumulate, the bigger your amino acid reserves get, which according to nutritionist Carla Prado “lessens the consequences of cancer.” That’s now one more reason to start looking for a personal trainer near me so that you can work with an expert to start building the muscle you need to survive cancer. 

Uplifting your self-esteem

Getting the better of cancer is as much a mental battle as it is a physical one, and building muscle can give you the shot in the arm in terms of the self-confidence that you need during this trying period. 

According to a Healthline review of 754 studies, there’s a correlation between body satisfaction or positive body image and strength training. It positively affects your perception of yourself and your perception of how others perceive you. 

What’s more, when you exercise to build muscle, your body releases feel-good hormones that make you feel happy. Over time, this can also have a positive mental effect as well. All in all, building muscle through strength training can help you tap into the power of a positive attitude, which Wattanosoth Cancer Hospital says “can go a long way in successful treatment.”

Decreasing your risk of injury

If you’re constantly injured, your body’s immune system has to split resources between managing the new infection and fighting off cancer cells. This division therefore “distracts” your immune system cells from halting the growth of cancer cells. 

However, when you workout more often, you don’t just build muscle. You also strengthen your:

  • tendons
  • ligaments 
  • joints
  • bones

Overall, strength training can increase your range of motion while giving you a strong foundation. It also decreases your risk of injury by correcting any muscle imbalances. In turn, this allows your immune system to focus all its firepower on cancer cells. 

Lowering levels of estrogen 

Estrogen is a hormone – present in both women and men – tasked with important reproductive duties. However, it’s also a carcinogen, which basically means that it has the potential to cause or aggravate cancer, especially breast cancer, for patients already living with the condition. 

That being said, you can lower circulating estrogen levels by working out more often with a personal training partner. That’s because exercise encourages the production of SHBG which can bind free-estrogen in the bloodstream. Consequently, this can help to slow down the advancement of cancer cells, especially for cases of estrogen-linked cancers. 

Are you building muscle for cancer?

If so, the San Diego fitness gurus over at Iron Orr Fitness might be a big help. In fact, health experts recommend up to 60 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises each week to help you maintain great physical and mental well-being. When combined with the right treatments, building muscle through exercise can help shrink cancer tumors and get you on the path to better health. No matter what chronic disease you have, all these benefits cut across the board to help you toward optimal well-being. For more details, check out the Iron Orr Fitness website today. 

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