The Benefits of Exercise with a Current Cancer Diagnosis

Exercise has many health benefits for your physical and mental well-being, but did you know that it’s even more important when you’ve been diagnosed with cancer? In this blog, we look at how targeted exercise can help you if you have cancer, or are undergoing cancer treatment.

How Exercise Can Help When You Have Cancer

If you’re currently being treated for cancer or recovering from cancer, you may have been told (especially by your loved ones) that it’s important to rest. However, more and more evidence shows that exercise can be beneficial during this time.

It’s been found that exercise during active cancer treatment can help:

  • Improve your strength and fitness, which helps you do everyday tasks and leisure activities
  • Improve your muscle mass and bone density
  • Improve your circulation and boost your energy levels
  • Manage any weight gain, or weight loss
  • Improve your mood and self-esteem, which affects your overall mental health
  • Reduce your risk of other conditions, such as high-blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis.

Being active during cancer treatment can help manage common cancer treatment side effects, such as:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain-fog
  • Peripheral neuropathy
  • Lymphoedema
  • Skin irritations
  • Poor balance/coordination

And equally important, it can help speed up your recovery.

Fighting Fatigue and Brain Fog

Fatigue and brain fog are very common side-effects of cancer treatment. They can have a big impact on how you go about your normal everyday activities, even ‘normal’ activities such as picking up after the kids, washing the dishes or preparing dinner. Fatigue from cancer and cancer treatment can last months after the treatments have finished, which can have a major consequence on your future physical and emotional wellbeing.

Exercise can help manage and ease the severity of your fatigue. Yes, moving more, even when you feel tired and want to rest, will give you more energy!

By maintaining our fitness levels during treatments, you’ll also be able to recover faster once treatment has ended.

Exercise Before Cancer Treatment

Some exciting research shows that exercising the morning before, or during the cancer treatment can actually help improve your chances of getting better sooner and has preventative benefits. The ABC Catalyst Team made a great episode of this, explaining how and why exercise can help.

We highly recommend watching this video to learn more about how exercise helped cancer treatment patients through their treatment.

We know that exercise keeps our heart and lungs healthy, maintains strong muscles and bones, manages our weight and keeps our joints healthy – plus exercising releases endorphins that improve our mood and sleep quality.

So, it makes sense that you should try to stay active during what may be the biggest (and scariest) health battle of your life, but we also understand that can be very overwhelming. That’s why we recommend you work with an exercise specialist who understands the level and extent of exercise you’ll be able to do.

Targeted Exercise with an Exercise Physiologist

We never expect you to start this on your own. Exercising with cancer and when you’re undergoing cancer treatments needs to be approached carefully. An Exercise Physiologist can help you get started and explain how much and how little you can do to make a difference.

An Exercise Physiologist will give you tailored exercises that work around any pain or discomfort but still keep you moving.

An Exercise Physiologist will show you:

  • Which exercises are safe to do around your type of cancer and current treatment schedule
  • How to effectively monitor and progress your training to help manage your current side effects
  • How to work around complicated surgeries/biopsies/ that have left tissue damage or chronic pain
  • Support, expert advice and tons of motivation

An Exercise Physiologist will also give you education on how to live a healthy lifestyle, and connect you with other Allied Health professionals who can support you. And of course, we’re another friendly face to help you on your journey.

Book with PPG’s Exercise Physiologist

We’re so lucky to have a fabulous Exercise Physiologist right here in Warragul who can create custom training programs for you. If you’d like to learn more about how to exercise with cancer or through cancer treatment, you can book online or get in touch with the lovely Di by calling 0497 111 127.