The Benefits of Exercise During Treatment

August 5, 2015
woman meditating on a beach

Even though exercising may feel impossible during treatment, it is extremely important and may help with long term recovery. When you are newly diagnosed, so many other things related to health tend to take priority. But, over the years a growing number of studies show that exercising is greatly beneficial to your treatment and long term care.

One of the best reasons to work out during treatment is that it has been proven to reduce fatigue. Patients that exercise during treatment actually experience 40-50% less fatigue according to this study from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Exercising regularly also helps improve mood, self-esteem and quality of life for people going through treatment. It can prevent further complications during treatment as well as other diseases.

It is easy to gain weight during treatment due to changes in physical activity and nutrition. However, according to studies, gaining weight during or after treatment may increase the risk of recurrence. People who exercise regularly during treatment are less likely to gain weight, so this risk is reduced.

It is important to remember that long term care is more than just treatment. It is about your overall health. Exercising regularly can help with your long term care by keeping you healthy both physically and mentally during and after treatment.

There are several different types of exercises that you can do:

Aerobic – This is cardiovascular based activities such as walking, swimming, biking or even dancing.

Strength – Also known as resistance training, and is when you workout to increase the strength of your muscles by lifting weights or creating resistance. Keeping muscle mass and bone density is important for you overall health. Using weights, resistance bands and practicing water aerobics are all examples.

Flexibility – Keeping your joints and muscles flexible can help you maintain your ability to perform daily tasks and improve your balance. Stretching after your workouts will also help your muscles.

If you feel like you don’t know where to start when it comes to exercising during treatment, there are plenty of resources. You can also seek out a personal trainer or a physical therapist, or see if your treatment center has small group classes you can take. Each of CSC’s Affiliate locations also offer different activities such as yoga or tai chi. Click here to find an Affiliate near you.

You also do not have to go to a gym in order to get a good workout in. Exercise is something you can do at home and even incorporate into your daily routine. Taking a walk around your neighborhood or taking the stairs when possible are great ways to get a workout in.

Everyone experiences cancer differently. This is especially true when it comes to treatment and planning long term care. Whether you exercised regularly during treatment or wished that someone would’ve told you exercise was possible during treatment; you can share your experience with us. By joining the Cancer Experience Registry you become a part of a community of people who have faced cancer.

The hardest part of exercise is getting started. Talk to your doctor and find a workout plan that works for you. The benefits are endless—in addition to improving your overall physical health, it can improve your mental health as well.