Staying active during, after cancer treatment
According to the American Cancer Society, exercise can improve how cancer patients function physically, as well as increase their quality of life.
While the American Cancer Society suggests avoiding physical activity if it causes pain, a rapid heart rate or shortness of breath, exercise can offer the following benefits for those who are physically able:
- Improve your physical abilities
- Improve your balance and lower your risk of falls
- Protect your muscles
- Lower the risk of heart disease
- Lower your risk of osteoporosis
- Improve your circulation and lower your risk for blood clots
- Improve your mood by lowering depression and anxiety
- Help you control your weight
- Lessen your fatigue
For patients who are currently in treatment, the American Cancer Society says to let your symptoms dictate how active you are and what kinds of exercises you do.
When recovering from treatment, patients should also take it slow at first until they find out what their limitations are. According to the American Cancer Society, what might have been a low-intensity workout before cancer treatment might now be an intense workout for a patient who’s recovering.
For those who are now cancer-free or who have stabilized the disease, the American Cancer Society recommends that they exercise regularly – aiming for about 150 minutes per week – and include strength training in their workouts at least twice a week.