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Finding The Motivation To Begin Exercise During Cancer Treatment

Currently cancer is the biggest killer and cause of illness in Australia. Approximately 134,174 Australians are diagnosed with one form of cancer each year. The most commonly diagnosed types of cancer in Australia are prostate and breast.

Those who are currently suffering or know a loved one suffering from cancer may have heard of the benefits exercise can have during treatment. However with the stresses that come from a cancer diagnosis exercise can often be the last thing on a cancer sufferers mind. Below is a snippet of key information cancer suffers/survivors should know when considering exercise.

Why should I exercise during my cancer treatment?

Exercise during treatment has been shown to improve treatment outcomes and risk of death related cancer. It is never too late to start exercising during treatment however the earlier you start the better. In fact studies have shown that women suffering from breast cancer who regularly exercise have a 35% – 49% lower risk of death from breast cancer compared to those who do not exercise.

I am so tired/lethargic how can I achieve any exercise?

Exercise does not have to be strenuous when undergoing cancer treatment. It just has to be regular. Exercise can also be accumulated by infrequent bouts throughout the day. For instance, a 10 min walk before treatment in the morning and a 10 minute walk of an afternoon. For those who can’t complete a walk – individuals may also get symptom relief from light mobility and stretching activities. Exercise has also been proven to improve symptoms of fatigue in some cancer patients.

Should I keep exercising at the end of treatment?

Yes! Regular exercise after a cancer treatment is linked to a higher survival rate and decreased risk of developing secondary cancers. Exercise has shown to improve quality of life, cardiorespiratory fitness and strength in cancer survivors.

Where do I start?

If you are currently suffering from cancer or a cancer survivor and would like to begin an exercise program contact an exercise physiologist to determine your physical constraints and ensure that you gradually build up your tolerance. For guidance and advice contact one of our Exercise Physiologists today!

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