Lora Packel, PhD, PT, CCS
Assistant Professor, University of the Sciences
Last Modified: December 17, 2014
Disclaimer: You should discuss your health risks with your physician before starting any exercise program.
Exercise is an important part of cancer care during and after treatment. It has many benefits and should be a part of your treatment plan no matter your type or stage of cancer.
Exercise can help with many things during cancer treatment such as:
It is important to check with your doctor before starting an exercise program during your cancer treatments, as there may be some days when you shouldn't exercise.
Some reasons that you may not be able to exercise are:
Exercise is important for your recovery and health. Exercise after treatment has ended can help you to:
For people with breast cancer or colon cancer, exercise may help prevent your cancer from coming back.
There are two kinds of exercise; aerobic exercises and strengthening exercises.
Aerobic exercise helps to strengthen your heart, give you more energy, help with feelings of sadness and can help you sleep better. Aerobic exercise involves any activity that raises your heart rate over a sustained period of time.
Types of aerobic exercise are:
Strengthening exercises help you feel stronger by building muscle and help to keep your bones strong.
Types of strengthening exercises are:
It is good to do both aerobic and strength exercises. You should start with aerobic exercises and slowly add in strength exercises.
1. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program.
2. Set goals. Think about a goal that you can reach in one month and then think about a goal that you can reach in six months.
Make goals that are realistic given your present health and treatment plan.
Examples of goals are:
3. Make a list of reasons that you might not exercise and how you will deal with them.
I might feel tired from my treatment
I can take a day off from exercise, but I will start again the next day.
I am too exhausted
I know exercise gives me energy, so I will make an exercise date with a friend to motivate me to follow through.
I am too busy going to see my doctors.
I will put exercise on my schedule just like I would a meeting and stick to it.
I will do some exercises while in the waiting room.
I will put sneakers in my car so I am ready to walk whenever I get a short break.
I am too sad to exercise
I will get a walking partner so I can have someone to talk to and get exercise at the same time.
I will talk to my doctor about feeling sad.
4. Be kind to yourself. It is okay to miss a few days of exercise. Don't punish yourself for a 'bad week.' Get back to your exercise as soon as you can.
5. Reward yourself for a good week! Think about something you like and do it (or buy it).
6. Get support.
People who have exercise partners are more likely to stick with their program.
7. How to start aerobic exercise.