Don’t stop moving. Research confirms that exercising can help you not just survive but thrive during and after cancer.

The evidence keeps rolling in: Exercise is often one of your most vital cancer treatments. For anyone handling a cancer diagnosis, that’s great news. Starting — or maintaining — an exercise program can empower you to maneuver out of a more passive “patient” role; it’ll help improve not just your well-being but your attitude, too. Physical activity can help people before, during and after cancer treatment. Research tells us, in general, it’s better to move more than less.”

It’s better to recommend that a person with cancer first discuss an exercise program together with his or her health care provider.  If you have been sedentary for a short time, start walking, which can help build muscle and stamina.


Exercise benefits

Many research studies support the thought that exercising during cancer treatment helps you feel better. Other studies have found that exercise during treatment can actually change the tumor microenvironment and trigger stronger anti-tumor activity in your system . And very recent animal studies have found that exercise can cause tumor reduction in rodents. Physical activity also helps you manage your weight, which is a crucial cancer risk factor.

In fact, research has linked being overweight or obese to an increased risk of many types of cancer, including endometrial, esophageal, liver, pancreas and breast cancers. There’s also increasing evidence that being overweight may cause a better risk of cancer recurrence and even cancer-related death.

Exercise guidelines

Adult cancer survivors are advised to engage in at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity (for example, walking, gardening, swimming, cycling, etc.) or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity (for example, uphill walking, aerobic dancing, etc.) Muscle-strengthening activities involving all major muscle groups are recommended for two sessions per week.

There are some precautions for exercise that should be taken into account – arm/shoulder problems (lymphoedema is not a contraindication to exercise!), skeletal fractures, infection risk, swelling and/or inflammation in the abdomen, groin, lower extremity.

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