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6 Tips for Exercise During Cancer

Updated: Dec 15, 2022


Doctor's hands on table facing cancer patient

Current and ongoing research shows that exercise can aid in counteracting the variety of physical and psychological effects of cancer and associated treatment/s. Exercise can provide benefits such as managing pain, fatigue, nausea as well as improving mood, self-esteem, muscle strength and aerobic capacity – very common side effects from treatment of most cancers. It is important to remember that exercise is not a one size fits all, with every individual’s cancer treatment and journey, goals, previous exercise and medical conditions differ.

Tips to get the benefits of exercise during your treatment:

  1. Find an Accredited Exercise Physiologist in your area – AEP’s complete a minimum 4 years of study at university in order to specialise in prescribing and supervising exercise for people who have complex health conditions, such as cancer!

  2. Current exercise guidelines for people with cancer or cancer survivors suggest 150 min/week of exercise; a mixture of aerobic (ie walking, cycling, swimming etc) and resistance training (Pilates, free weights etc). However important to remember this number is a guideline and individualising exercise is paramount!

  3. Stick to your own individualised threshold, what I like to call the “goldilocks” zone; not too much exercise load that side effects will exacerbate but not too less so the load of exercise will not be of benefit.

  4. Certain chemotherapy agents and radiation come with side effects. Unfortunately, there is a stereotype that once an individual completes their treatment, that's it and they are all done. It’s common for treatment side effects to linger post completion of treatment (like fatigue, chemobrain, peripheral neuropathy) and some side effects can present years post treatment (depending on cancer type and treatment; eg. a common late onset effect of a chemo agent group called anthracyclines is cardiotoxicity, - this can present up to 20 years post treatment). Exercise aims to decrease the intensity/risk of these side effects lingering or presenting post treatment.

  5. It’s never too late to engage in exercise, despite what stage or your cancer journey you are at! Exercise is a very broad word and is different for everyone; some goals I have seen from my patients are re-engaging in the exercise they did prior to treatment like gym or Pilates, running a marathon, being able to run around with their kids/grandkids or even being able to walk around the shops without being breathless.

  6. This is a fantastic resource and speaks about how exercise provides varying benefits for a number of cancer types. Cancer EBook Georgia White AEP AES ESSAM B. Clin Ex Phys. GradCertExerMed (Onc) Accredited Exercise Physiologist



 

Top Exercise Choices


These are the products that helped me exercise during treatment.



Soft-Touch Grip Hand Weights.

Light weights for use when doing at home pilates


Click to purchase



Yoga Mat with Alignment Lines. Anti-Slip.

Beautiful yoga mat featuring alignment lines to assist you with the position of arms and legs. This helps at home pilates or yoga by encouraging you to keep body in balance with accurate posture for the best practice.


Click to purchase

Support Resources

Cancer Council Australia

CCA an organisation to support all Australians affected by cancer through support, research and prevention programs.


Ovarian Cancer Australia

OCA is an independent national not-for-profit organisation, supporting women diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Our focus is to provide care and support for those affected by ovarian cancer; and represent them by leading change. Our vision is to save lives and ensure no woman with ovarian cancer walks alone.


Breast Cancer Network Australia

BCNA Breast Cancer Network Australia (BCNA) is Australia’s leading breast cancer consumer organisation. We have worked tirelessly to ensure that all Australians who are affected by breast cancer receive the very best care, treatment and support.


Bowel Cancer Australia

BCA Peer-to-Peer Support Network connects patient’s and loved ones on a one-to-one buddy basis that enables members to give and receive advice about their bowel cancer experience in an informal and mutually beneficial way.


Leukaemia Foundation

LF is a support service for patients and supporters dealing with blood cancers.


*FU Cancer is supported by its audience. If you choose to purchase through the links on our site we may receive an affiliate commission. This goes towards paying our expenses plus a percentage of our monthly profit goes towards directly helping people with cancer. If you know someone who could do with a boost during their cancer treatment please let us know here.



*FU Cancer is supported by its audience. If you choose to purchase through the links on our site we may receive an affiliate commission. This goes towards paying our expenses plus a percentage of our monthly profit goes towards directly helping people with cancer. If you know someone who could do with a boost during their cancer treatment please let us know here.





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