10 Ways Exercise Is Beneficial When Going Through Cancer Treatment

Cancer is tough and so is the treatment. There will be times when you are so devoid of energy you may find it difficult to lift your head off the pillow but equally, there will be times when you have more energy and want to get out and get active.

As the American Physical Therapy Association explains, there are many reasons why exercising while going through cancer treatment is good for you. These include:

Reduces Fatigue
Although it sounds counterproductive, exercise can actually help you feel less fatigued and give you more energy, helping you to get through that next round of treatment.

Increases Muscle Strength
Exercising regularly will help to maintain and increase muscle strength which will help you look and feel stronger.

Reduces Stress
Exercise has been proven to help alleviate stress, ease depression and anxiety, and release happy, feel-good hormones.

MORE: How social media is helping people through cancer

Prevents Swelling
Swelling and water retention (lymphedema) can be a major concern when going through cancer treatment. Regular exercise can help prevent or reduce swelling.

Relieves Pain
So long as you don’t overdo it and injure yourself, exercising at a comfortable pace can help relieve pain.

Helps Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
Some cancer treatments may make patients put on weight. Exercise can help to maintain a patient’s natural healthy weight.

Reduces Brain Fog
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can result in brain fog for many people going through cancer treatment. Exercise has been shown to lift the fog and improve cognitive skills.

MORE: Seven tips to help you find the right oncologist

Minimizes Bone Density Loss
Certain cancer treatments can result in the loss of bone density. Exercise can help to minimize bone density loss.

Improves Mood
If you love exercising, continuing to do so while going through cancer treatment will allow you to get out and do what you love and forget about your cancer for a while. It also means that when you’re in remission and return full-time to your chosen exercise program, you won’t have lost too much of your past progress.

Improves Outcomes
Studies have found that cancer patients who exercise are more likely to have a better outcome from their cancer treatment than those who don’t exercise.

MORE: How prevalent is cancer?

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  1. Peter Griggs says:

    I have Locally Advanced Prostate Cancer and am on a 3-year treatment of Decapeptyl as well as having had radiotherapy in early 2016. I am inoperable. I have put on a lot of weight in the past 18 months, or so.

    One of my queries that no-one seems to be able to answer is “are there any exercises I should avoid, e.g. cycling?”. I also had a total knee replacement about 18 months ago which limits my movement, e.g. I cannot run.

    Kind regards,

    • richard moore says:

      Dear Peter, I’m no expert but from what you write, cycling might be the answer for you. It’s non-load bearing (as is swimming) and unlike jogging/running, doesn’t take its toll on the knees. If the idea of riding a “normal” bike doesn’t appeal, I suggest you try a pedal assisted eBike. There’s nothing not to like about them. If you try one, you’ll want one. Good luck.

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