Cancer, and its treatment, tends to leave survivors fatigued, but research seems to show that exercise can:
• Improve sleep patterns
• Lower the risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and recurrence of the cancer whilst improving lung function (breathing)
• Reduce obesity caused by inactivity and treatments such as cortisone
• Reduce nausea
• Provide a more positive mood whilst reducing stress, anger, depression and feelings of helplessness
• Increase skeletal muscle size
• Improve the survivor’s ability to perform daily activities such as bathing, dressing etc.
• Help to overcome fatigue and boost energy levels
- Start at a low duration and intensity, even just flexing your muscles, ankles and knees has enormous value.
- Exercise every day – even if it is just walking around your bed or going to the kitchen to make a cup of tea! Instead of focusing on what you can’t do – find something that you CAN do!!
Once you are feeling stronger you may want to consider a more structured exercise programme but please remember:
- In the early stages of your treatment exercise should be aimed at restoring muscle strength and joint movement
- In the later stages of your treatment exercise should be aimed at improving muscle strength and joint movement and increasing your endurance (length of time to fatigue)
- Always discuss your fitness programme with your treating physician / oncologist
- Physiotherapists have good medical training and are able to advise you on your programme. They will work with your oncologist and design exercises that suit your unique needs.
In the next issue we shall begin the introduction of simple exercises that restore muscle strength and improve joint movement whilst you are on chemo.
Written by Solange Czerniewicz