After cancer treatment, many struggle to adopt a healthier lifestyle. This can involve adding a number of healthy and healing foods to a diet that previously might have emphasized a little too much processed food.
Other changes may come in form of a desire to be more physically active. It’s no secret that exercise, reduced weight, and better health all go hand-in-hand. But what, exactly, is the best exercise when it comes to health benefits and maximum motivation to participate?
Researchers from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta think that playing a sport is the answer. Playing a sport usually means you’ll be involved with a team of players. You may be competing by yourself against other players, or you may have a set of teammates that you work with to defeat an opponent. Either way, a sport like baseball, hockey, golf or tennis will get you involved in a game and will exercise your mind, your body and your social connection with others. And these three things together likely help boost your motivation to exercise.
This is exactly what the Canadian researchers found when they conducted a clinical trial. They noted that although physical activity is known to improve health outcomes in colorectal cancer survivors, participation rates are low. They suggested that one understudied strategy for increasing physical activity in colorectal cancer survivors may be sport participation. So they set out to report the sport participation rate and sport preferences among colorectal cancer survivors.
The researchers mailed a survey to colorectal cancer survivors in Alberta to determine sport participation, sport preferences, sport benefits and barriers, and medical variables. A total of 600 colorectal cancer survivors completed the survey.
What was the most preferred sport amongst the survivors? That honor goes to golf, with almost a quarter of colorectal cancer survivors reporting participation in this sport. The most common barriers to sport participation were time, age/agility, and no interest in/dislike of sports. The most common anticipated benefits of sport participation were improved physical fitness, meeting people, and improved health.
Over half of the colorectal cancer survivors were possibly interested in learning about sport participation opportunities.
So here’s some health advice: there are a surprising number of sports to choose from. Everything from lawn bowling to competitive sailing could potentially be out there for you to try. Choose one, get involved and have a great time while you improve and strengthen your physical health on your road to complete recovery.