Movement and Exercise During Treatment

While starting a serious exercise program during cancer treatment is usually not a good idea, maintaining energy for your current daily activity level is important as is regaining any lost strength.

As you considered exercise programs, keep the following in mind: Your physician can help you determine what activity level is most appropriate. While exercising, be sure to drink plenty of water—staying well hydrated is important to overall health but even more critical during treatment. Listen to your body and don’t over exert yourself.

Benefits of Exercise Often Include:

  • Stress reduction,
  • Improved sleep,
  • Maintenance or strengthening of cardiovascular system,
  • Enhanced flexibility and range of motion,
  • Reduced fatigue,
  • Relaxation, and
  • Enhanced self confidence and a feeling of wellness.

You may not realize it, but even light to moderate walking can help increase energy levels and boost self-esteem. As well, many patients find that exercise helps reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Be sure to inform your healthcare provider and start slowly.  

Simple Ways to Make Movement Part of Your Day:

  • Make the most of your daily activities by incorporating exercise.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park farther away.
  • Go down every aisle in the grocery store—whether you need to or not!
  • Stroll around places like malls where you’ll enjoy a controlled environment, people, and plenty of places to rest when you’re tired.
  • Try exercising in water. Activities like swimming and water aerobics are gentle on your joints and you won’t become over-heated. (Remember to use sunscreen if your pool is outside.)
  • Try Tai Chi, Qi Gong, or yoga. These centuries-old forms of exercise incorporate rhythmic breathing and relaxation techniques with gentle movements.
  • Gardening can be done with light or moderate movement. Once again, protect yourself from potential sunburn and insect bites.
  • Find an activity that you enjoy and look forward to doing.