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July 2022

Get Moving After a Cancer Diagnosis

After a cancer diagnosis, your mind might be racing. Going to an aerobics class is probably your last thought. If you’ve already started treatment, the idea of exercise may make you feel even more tired than you already are. But many studies show that exercise is actually safe and realistic during cancer treatment.

Two people playing paddleball

Benefits of exercise

Researchers recommend that cancer care teams tailor exercise programs to every patient, as exercise is proven to boost survival rates and quality of life.

Exercise during cancer treatment has been shown to:

  • Improve balance

  • Keep muscles strong

  • Lower risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, which are common conditions among cancer survivors

  • Improve blood flow to the legs and lower risk for blood clots

  • Raise self-esteem

  • Reduce risk for anxiety and depression

  • Help with sleep problems

  • Prevent weight gain

Make a plan that works for you

People with cancer may feel too tired to exercise. An aerobic training program can help you regain energy. Motivate yourself to get moving by setting up a routine that allows you to be active when you feel your best. Aim to balance activity with rest. You can also:

  • Set short-term and long-term goals

  • Keep exercise fresh by trying new activities

  • Use charts to record your exercise progress

  • Reward your successes

The type, stage, and treatment of your cancer may affect your exercise ability. Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider on a physical activity plan that is right for you. Also, your cancer care team will check your blood counts during your treatment. Ask them about your results and if it is OK for you to exercise.

 

 

Online Medical Reviewer: Joseph Gonella, MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, MSN, BSN
Date Last Reviewed: 6/1/2022
© 2000-2022 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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