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Exercise and cancer

Conversations about exercise after or during treatment for cancer

  • 2 conversations

Exercise and cancer

Started by Robyn   on 14 May 2015 at 17:16

Research has shown gentle exercise to be beneficial both during and after treatment for cancer. Ask questions and share you experiences with the online team and other members.

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Comments (12)

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Displaying 1-10 of 12 comments

  • From Anonymous
    01 March 2017 at 10:14

    Hi all, am new to the group.. I love conversation in maggiescentres, bcoz am interested in cancer cure topics. And I also follow Dr. Vijay Anand Reddy, a top oncologist in India. I like to answer your question, we can trim cancer risk with exercise!It’s easier than you think! A half hour of physical activity daily such as walking, slow swimming, leisurely bike riding or golfing without a cart will get you started. Here are some ways to be more active:
    1. Use stairs rather than an elevator.
    2. Walk or bike to your destination, and walk around the block after dinner.
    3. Exercise at lunch with your family or friends.
    4. Go dancing.
    5. Wear a pedometer every day and watch your daily steps increase.
    6. Join a sports team.
    7. Walk to visit co-workers rather than send an e-mail.
    8. Use a stationary bike or do sit-ups, leg lifts and push-ups while watching TV.
    9. Park a little farther from your office, the store or the library for a nice walk.
    10. When the weather is too poor to be outside, grab a partner and “walk the mall.”
    11. Vary your type of exercise so you won’t get bored or think it’s a chore.

  • Picture of Robyn
    From Robyn  
    09 June 2016 at 14:36

    For anyone not familiar with nordic walking you can find out more in an article written about the nordic walking sessions which take  place with groups from some Maggie's  Centres

    Nordic walking at Maggie's . I admit I looked in surprise  the first time I saw  a bunch of people walking  along the Thames path on a sunny day with ski poles  however It is great exercise that's kind to joints and it is also  a chance to meet others in similar situations.

    Best wishes


  • From Anonymous
    30 May 2016 at 22:16

    I recommend Nordic walking. It looks silly but is very good overall excercise, and I often return less tired than when I started out.

  • Picture of SusieQ
    From SusieQ  
    14 March 2016 at 09:54
    Edited on: 14 March 2016 at 09:55


    Exercise can be a bit more of a challenge when struggling with breathlessness, as it doesn't often take much activity to set things off. However, movement and activity do help maintain body strength when going through treatment.

    It can also be difficult when living with daily fatigue, which can be caused by cancer treatments themselves sometimes. (There's a good article from American Cancer Society 'physical activity and the cancer patient, which explains that if you're on chemotherapy, and/or you're anaemic/low blood count...please check with your doctor/oncologist before embarking on an exercise programme).

    Something gentle to try, would be the use of breathing techniques, such as those used in yoga, as it helps bolster lung function.You could also try light stretching exercises as a way to stay mobile and avoid over exertion.

    It also depends on your normal activity level prior to starting your recent treatment. Gentle walking for 10 minutes at periods during the day, whilst you're feeling washed out from chemotherapy...will keep things moving, and you can build up, as your strength and energy return.

    It might be worth asking for a referral to a physiotherapist who can talk you through a range of exercises tailored to your specific issues with your lungs.

    Meanwhile, you can find some useful links on breathing and relaxation exercises, and 'fatigue, exercise and cancer' on our Maggies Cancerlink's web pages...

    Warm wishes





  • From Anonymous
    13 March 2016 at 18:51

    I have sarcoma's on my lung lining and have had some of my rib and lung removed in previous surgeries...I also have asthma and I find it really hard to exercise as I just get out of breathe... any ideas????

  • Picture of CarolineH
    From CarolineH  
    30 September 2015 at 11:56

    The research would certainly support taking up some form of exercise during or after treatment if it is possible.

    In reply to yorkshiregot about stubborn weight it would be interesting to know how you are eating to see if this has any influence on your weight. Research would tell us that to lose those unwanted pounds it is aviseable to eat a diet that is low in glyceamic load. This means choosing foods that are generally low in sugars and carbohydrates. Choosing to eat small portions of whole grain carbohydrates like oats, whole meal flour products, brown rice and quinoa. To avoid all processed foods and those that contain sugar. With this eat a diet high in a wide variety of vegetables prepared in many ways, some protein whether it be from animals or vegetables like peas beans and lentils and plenty of good fats like olive oil, coconut oil and seed and nut oils that have been cold pressaed. Nuts, seeds and oily fish will also supply essential fats.

    I look forward to your reply with some details of your food intake to see if I can help further.

    sent with my best wishes Caroline (nutritional advisor)

  • Picture of SusieQ
    From SusieQ  
    28 September 2015 at 12:16
    Edited on: 28 September 2015 at 12:17

    Weight gain following treatment for cancer can often be a demoralising fact - just when you're wanting to regain fitness levels, and start picking up the pieces after a long spell where cancer has dominated your daily activities.

    The causes can be multiple - a combination of the drug therapies you may have been on, periods of long standing reduced activity, and for some people, family and friends may have been contributing to the well meaning 'let's build you up' food provision.

    You're clearly doing well on resuming exercise, and I'm wondering if a small amount of the non-shifting weight, may now be due to muscle formation. However, it can be very demoralising to be stepping on the scales and seeing no improvement.

    I imagine CarolineH, our online nutritional advisor, will have some tips for you. In the meantime, you may find our Maggie's Cancerlink's section on Weight gain management helpful. If you live near any of our Maggie's Centres, you could enquire about weight gain management courses there, as it is a recognised concern for many of our centre visitors.

    Warm wishes


  • From Anonymous
    28 September 2015 at 11:42

    I have recently (1 month) started cycling again to & from work which is about 20 miles a day, 6 days a week, as well as swimming about 2 hours a week.  However, despite this my weight hasn't changed a bit, it has remained at the same (too heavy) weight and isn't budging.  Any suggestions please?

  • Picture of SusieQ
    From SusieQ  
    22 June 2015 at 15:23
    Edited on: 22 June 2015 at 15:24

    Hello all,

    Some very interesting questions and ideas here, and it shows how much daily activity and exercise helps identify both who we are, and how we feel. The debilitating feature about cancer and it's treatment is that can rob us, temporarily or otherwise, of doing something that lifts the endorphins, helps with mobility, and energises the cardivascular system.

    Vicky, you asked about hydrotherapy as a useful form of exercise, particularly as recovering from spinal radiotherapy. It sounds a beneficial form of physical activity, as you'll be led through exercises specific to you, in a pool which will be 31 - 33 degrees centigrade, so warmer than an average swimming pool. You'd need to check with your consultant if it would be OK in view of your recent spine problems - and it would probably need a physiotherapy assessment and referral.

    Meanwhile for Lynn, about to embark on radiotherapy as part of breast cancer treatment - it sounds a good idea to be thinking how much exercise (if any) is to be encouraged, whilst on treatment. You're right, swimming will be discouraged during, and for a few weeks following treatment. However, you can exercise, although you may find you have not the energy levels for anything overly rigourous.

    Walking, cycling, breathing and relaxation exercises, yoga etc, should all be ok. There will be days, perhaps towards the end of your treatment, and for a few weeks post treatment, where you may feel more tired - so don't overly exert yourself on those days. I imagine you will be used to listening to your body, as an athlete, so will recognise any energy level dips.

    Also, the post breast surgery exercises you were given following your recent operation, should be continued throughout your radiotherapy, to maintain flexibility of the shoulder joint - and help you maintain a comfortable position whilst you have your radiotherapy sessions. (The downloadable leaflet 'Exercises after breast cancer surgery' from Breast Cancer Care may be a helpful aide memoire).

    If anyone else has ideas or suggestions regarding how they got back to exercising during and following cancer treatment, do let us know...

    Best wishes



  • From Anonymous
    22 June 2015 at 10:40

    Exercise is a daily part of my life and has been for many years.  For over 10 years I have competed at triathlon and have had an exercise regime which included about 10-12 hours a week of exercise, which typically meant I was doing some kind of exercise 6 days out of 7.

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer in April and had surgery in May.  I have knocked exercise back considerably but I have kept going with either a 30-60 minutes exercise session either swimming, running on or the bike.

    I am about to undergo radiotherapy for 4 weeks and I have been told not to swim for the 4 weeks and probably 4 weeks afterwards.   

    What should I expect when undergoing radiotherapy?  Will I be able to exercise?  People have warned me not to overdo things and really take it easy but I am relatively fit and young and exercise is a great stress reliever for me therefore I would like to set appropriate expectations for my head before radiotherapy starts.



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Exercise and cancer

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