Can exercise help in recovering from brain tumour?

About 5 to 10 per 100,000 people suffer from brain tumours in India. Out of these about 2% of the tumours turn out to be malign in nature. The incidence of brain tumours can drastically impact a person’s life to a huge extent. It can cause personality changes, challenges in memory, seizures, and extreme weakness.
Dr. Gajendra Singh Sandhu, Consultant – Neurosurgeon, Manipal Hospital Ghaziabad says, “A brain tumour is an abnormal cell growth that can affect the brain’s normal function. It can occur in the brain tissue and its nearby regions. It may result in symptoms like headaches, seizures, changes in vision or speech, and cognitive impairments and may be malignant or non-cancerous. Depending on the nature and location of the tumour, different treatments are available.”
The treatment of a brain tumour typically involves a combination of approaches, including surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, tailored to the specific type, size, and location of the tumour. The goal is to remove or shrink the tumour, alleviate symptoms, and prevent its recurrence while preserving brain function. Post-treatment, the patients can engage in a number of physical activities that will help them in the recovery process.
Aerobic exercises
Walking, swimming, or cycling are examples of low-impact aerobics activities that can help throughout the recovery from a brain tumour to enhance cardiovascular health and general well-being.

Balance and coordination exercises

According to Dr. Sandhu, “Yoga, tai chi, or certain balance exercises can improve stability and coordination, lowering the risk of falls and enhancing general physical performance.”

Cognitive exercises

While recovering from a brain tumour, mental exercises like puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, or memory games can assist stimulate cognitive function, enhance memory, and improve focus.

Strength training

“Under the direction of a healthcare practitioner, light to moderate strength training exercises can support physical resilience by regaining muscular strength and endurance,” says Dr. Sandhu.

Stretching and flexibility exercises

During the recovery process after a brain tumour, gentle stretching activities or practices like yoga or Pilates help improve flexibility, ease tension in the muscles, and encourage relaxation.

Mindfulness and meditation

Dr. Sandhu advises, “Meditation and mindfulness practices can help lower stress, promote emotional well-being, sharpen attention, and improve mental clarity—all of which can be helpful during the healing process.”

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