Phsical well being

Learning to cope with your cancer diagnosis can take time and changes life for you and for the people around you. The symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment may cause certain physical changes. In the past, patients being treated for cancer were often told to rest and reduce their physical activity. An increasing number of studies have examined the therapeutic value of exercise during cancer treatment. Existing evidence strongly suggests that exercise is not only safe and feasible during cancer treatment, but that it can also improve physical functioning, fatigue, and multiple aspects of quality of life. The decision regarding when to initiate and how to maintain physical activity should be individualized to the patient's condition and personal preferences.

Maintaining Activity

Individuals receiving chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy who are already on an exercise program may need to exercise at a lower intensity and/or duration during their treatment, but the principal goal should be to maintain activity as much as possible. For those who were sedentary before diagnosis, low-intensity activities such as stretching and brief, slow walks should be adopted and slowly advanced.7

Certain things affect your ability to exercise, for example:

  • The type and stage of cancer
  • Your cancer treatment
  • Your strength and fitness level

Staying Safe

Before, during and after treatment, it may not be safe, you may feel too fatigued or you just may not feel like adapting exercise into your life. If this is the case, listed below are some ways to add physical activity to the things you do every day. Remember, listen to your body and don’t push yourself!

Add physical activity to your life by trying:

  • Go for a short cycle (10-15 minutes)
  • Take a stroll around your neighbourhood after dinner
  • Mow the lawn
  • Clean the bathroom
  • Wash the car
  • Walk the dog
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
  • Get off the bus a couple of stops early and walk the remainder of the way
  • Get a pedometer and monitor the number of steps you take every day – challenge yourself to do a little more everyday