When you’re getting treated for cancer or recovering, you may think that you should be resting and avoiding physical activity. But it’s better to try to keep moving.
Research shows that exercise has many benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing during and after cancer treatment. These include:
- strengthening muscle and bones
- helping you maintain or achieve or healthy weight
- boosting your energy levels
- improving your mobility and balance
- enhancing your self-esteem
- helping you cope with stress, anxiety and depression.
Being active can help manage some of the common side effects of treatment and speed up your recovery. For some cancers, exercise can even improve how you respond to treatment and reduce the risk of cancer coming back.
The physical activity guidelines for people with cancer are the same as those recommended for everyone. According to Australia’s physical activity and sedentary behaviour guidelines for adults, you should aim for:
- 2 ½ to 5 hours (150 to 300 minutes) of moderate intensity exercise or 1 ¼ to 2 ½ hours (75 to 150 minutes) of vigorous intensity physical activity every week
- two to three strength training sessions a week.
Exercise is generally safe, and the risk of complications is relatively low. However, you may need to adjust how hard or long you exercise according to your situation.
Before taking part in any exercise during or after treatment, speak to your oncologist or general practitioner about any precautions you should take.
If you want a tailored exercise program, see an accredited exercise physiologist or physiotherapist. They can design a program for you based on what you can do and any physical problems or side effects from your cancer treatment.
Exercise in Survivorship Webinar
To find out more about how exercise can help in cancer recovery, attend our free online webinar.
Panellists Dr Di Adams (Medical Oncologist), Jennifer Chan (Exercise Physiologist), and Veronica Leonardo (cancer survivor) will share their expert opinion and real-life experiences with us.
- Date: Thursday, June 17 2021
- Time: 7 pm to 8 pm AEDT
- Duration: 60 minutes
- Where: Online – join via your computer, tablet or smartphone
- Presenters: Dr Diana Adams, Veronica Leonardo and Jennifer Chan