How Can You Benefit from Exercise During Cancer Treatment?

How Can You Benefit from Exercise During Cancer Treatment?

cancer care


Exercise is deemed as a vital component of cancer treatment, as it enhances physical and mental health. Several studies suggest that exercise can improve the survival rates of cancer patients while slowing down cancer progression and reducing the risk of it recurring.

According to one study, moderate exercise during radiation therapy for prostate and breast cancer can prevent cancer-related fatigue among patients compared to those who do not exercise. Therefore, including an exercise routine in your treatment plan will help you achieve a better quality of life.

You can even exercise during chemotherapy, but you will need to take certain precautions. This article discusses how to exercise safely during cancer treatment.

Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Patients Exercising during cancer treatment ensures substantial benefits, including:

  • Reduced anxiety and depression
  • Good sleep quality
  • Minimized side effects from treatment, such as nausea, neuropathy, fatigue, osteoporosis, and lymphedema
  • Weight gain and obesity prevention
  • Reduced hospital stay
  • Can improve the effectiveness of your treatment in destroying cancer cells
  • Enhanced mobility
  • Improved physical balance
  • Increased energy and strength
  • Reduced risk of other cancers
  • Prevention of chronic medical conditions, e.g., heart disease, diabetes, etc.

Key Points to Consider Before You Start Exercising During Treatment

Though exercise is typically safe during and after cancer treatment, it’s important to assess whether you’re able to exercise and what type of workouts are appropriate for you. Factors to consider are:

  • Your cancer type
  • The treatments being used
  • Your fitness level
  • Treatment side effects
  • Your current health condition

Even if you practiced exercises before treatment, it might not be practical to follow the same routine during or after treatment. Therefore, you should discuss with your healthcare provider about the right exercise program for you.

Exercising Safely During Treatment

Consider changing your exercise plan based on the side effects you’re experiencing from treatment. For example, if the treatment causes bone loss, avoid workouts that strain your neck and increase your risk of falling.

Follow these guidelines to exercise safely during cancer treatment:

  1. Progress Slowly
    Slowly increase your workout time to avoid injuries.
  2. Exercise in a Safe Environment
    Cancer treatments may have weakened your immune system, so avoid exercising in places where viral or bacterial infections can easily spread.
  3. Listen to Your Body
    Adjust your exercise time and intensity, depending on your energy level and medical condition.
  4. Stay Hydrated
    Drink plenty of water and fluids to prevent dehydration during workouts.
  5. Visit Your Doctor Regularly
    You may have fluctuations in your health throughout the treatment. Therefore, visit your healthcare provider regularly to get your vitals (blood pressure, heart rate, weight, etc.) checked.

Exercising Tips for Cancer Patients

Follow these tips to create a personalized exercise routine that will help you reap the benefits.

  1. Follow Physical Activity Recommendations

    According to the CDC, the right workout plan should include 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity workout, or two days of full-body strength training (swimming, yoga, weight lifting, or resistance training) a week.

  2. Practice Various Exercises
    Make sure to practice various workouts to experience maximum benefits.
    • Aerobic Training – Walking, running, swimming, and cycling
    • Resistance Training – Includes the use of weights in exercises like squats, bench press, lunges, etc.
    • Core Training – The muscles in the middle of your body (from under the ribs to where your hip bends) are your core. You can strengthen your core by practicing planks, sit-ups, and fitness ball exercises.
  3. Replenish Your Body
    Stay hydrated, eat nutritious food, and take plenty of rest to recover your body after exercise. A diet rich in proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients helps your body recover.
  4. Have an Exercise Partner
    Inform your exercise plan to one of your close friends or family members and ask them to encourage you to practice it regularly. This way, you can make your exercise routine consistent.

If you or your loved one are undergoing cancer treatment, then consider collaborating with your doctor to develop a feasible exercise and diet plan based on your specific needs.

Undergoing cancer treatment can be mentally and physically taxing on your body and mind. Developing and following a personalized exercise plan based on your medical condition can positively impact your treatment outcome.

If you are looking for effective and affordable cancer treatment options, contact our medical team at the Chesapeake Oncology Hematology Associates. Along with professional cancer treatment, our oncologists can also recommend lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet and physical activity to improve your treatment outcome.



COHA is a leading group of oncologists that offer oncology services within Anne Arundel County, Howard County, and Queen Anne’s County, Maryland. We remain committed to bringing the best oncology and hematology services to the residents of this area. Our knowledge, skills, and experience will guide you toward the best treatment options for your health and lifestyle. We offer today’s most effective therapies, expertly and compassionately delivered in our infusion and medical centers.

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