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Exercise During Cancer Treatment

Exercise During Cancer Treatment


Earlier this month on the 4th of February we celebrated World Cancer Day. So many of us have been affected by cancer, directly or indirectly through family members, friends or colleagues. Living with cancer can be a difficult and stressful time for both you and your family. This blog aims to guide you to the support through our expertise in exercise.

Exercise During Cancer Recommended?

In the past patients have been told to reduce their physical activity and rest as much as possible. Although resting in crucial for your body especially going through treatments, exercise during cancer treatments is now highly recommended by professionals;

Dr.Cormie from Harvard Medical School described it as: “The level of evidence is really indisputable and withholding exercise from patients is probably harmful.”

According to the NCCN (National Comprehensive Cancer Network) those who exercised regularly had 40% to 50% less fatigue, the primary complaint during treatment. Fatigue is the catalyst to many other symptoms, some including:

  • Pain
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Inactivity
  • Sleep problems
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Medications

Other than reducing fatigue and the symptoms associated with it, exercises have great benefits for physical and mental health. Helping to;

  • Improve circulation to any affected areas
  • Maintain or achieve a healthy weight
  • Improves and maintains flexibility of joints and muscles – Cancer treatments can have an impact on joint movement and muscle flexibility.
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves mood and boosts self confidence

We have listed some exercises that may benefit you, however please check with your primary health physician before implementing any of these exercises into your routine.


Stretching or ROM (Range of motion) Exercises

Gentle stretching, also called range-of-motion exercises, during cancer treatments has many benefits. It is advised to stretch three to four times a week.

Aerobic Exercises

Brisk walking or a light low intensity jog is great to get your heart rate up to build cardiovascular fitness which improves overall health and helps to lower the risk of other health concerns including heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.


Swimming offers unique advantages that many other cardiovascular exercises do not because the activity involves so many different muscles. With the added bonus of less impact on your bones and joints that jogging, for example, may have.

Strength training

Strength training, often called resistance or weight training, is to maintain or build muscle. maintaining muscle mass is important during cancer treatments, resistance training is a great way to achieve this.


If you have any questions or would like more information on exercises during cancer treatments please contact the clinic today. Our chartered physiotherapists here at Ballsbridge Physiotherapy Clinic will be able to work closely with you to plan the ideal exercise routine.

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