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  • Carol Michaels

Caregivers Can Help the Patient Exercise

Caregivers can help their patients with their disease by helping them exercise. This can be accomplished through instructional exercise DVDs or by bringing them to exercise programs that are designed for the patient's specific condition. These specialized programs teach patients how to exercise properly, and provide an exercise schedule. They can also provide a social and educational forum.

Depending on the disease, patients may suffer difficulty breathing, fatigue, anxiety, depression, insomnia and pain. Chronic disease sufferers often experience a reduced quality of life. The good news is that quality of life can be improved with exercise and it should be considered for every patient. Exercise may reduce the risk of disease spread and is associated with reduced mortality. Exercise also lessens adverse symptoms by enhancing physical and social function and reducing fatigue. Exercise is a safe and inexpensive therapy that reduces symptoms and improves quality of life. It improves strength, endurance, pulmonary function and flexibility.

Aerobic exercise is a great way to improve fitness. It not only improves cardiac function, but also improves oxygen capacity. Aerobic exercises include walking, dancing, or any activity that increase heart rate. Low intensity exercise such as walking is a safe way to begin.


  • Aerobic exercise can be performed at a time that is convenient and there is no need to belong to an expensive gym. Start by walking around a room in the house and slowly increase the distance walked. This can be done several times a day.

  • Use a pedometer to measure your steps and to help set and attain goals. When sedentary one loses strength and gets weaker.

  • Patients may benefit from strength training because it can strengthen weakened muscles.

  • Fatigue can lead to sedentary behavior. Muscle mass will decrease if you sit or lie in bed alot.

  • Strength training can help you to improve your balance, posture and increase your bone strength.

  • Patients with shortness of breath due to their cancer should perform stretching exercises daily to increase lung capacity. These can help to keep chest muscles loose and encourage deep breathing.

  • Stretching can also help improve posture. Sitting down all day can cause rounded shoulders and kyphosis, which can decrease lung capacity.

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