Can I Exercise When I Have Cancer? … A delicate subject.

Posted by Jonathan on 3/2/2016 to Health

CAN I EXERCISE WHEN I HAVE CANCER? … A delicate subject.

As with anything, you should always consult your oncologist or team before doing anything different. When i was a horse trainer on a breeding farm in Millbrook, NY, our breeding manager always insisted to my staff, that all broodmares should be kept in top shape for an easier birth. So i would have my staff lightly exercise the mares right up until date of birth.

Until recently, most Doctors have stressed to Cancer patients to rest and relax and to reduce their activities which was good advice if such activities Cause stress or pain on the body, rapid heartbeat or shortness of breath (especially with lung Cancer), however, new research has discovered that light exercise can not only make the effects of Cancer treatments milder, but can improve normal day functioning of life or quality of life.

Now, again, AjsWigs stresses that you must talk to your doctor about this issue, but even with personal experience with this, too much rest can lead to loss of muscle tone, create weakness and reduce the range of motion of arms and legs. It can also create depression. Most doctors will help you plan out an exercise regime depending on what stage of cancer your in, your current physical condition and what treatments you will be receiving.

According to the ACS, the following are advantages of exercising during treatments:

Improve balance

Keep Muscles from deteriorating

Lower the risk of heart Disease

Lesson the risk of osteoporosis(weak bones which are more likely to break)

Make you less dependant on others

Lessen nausea

Improve to keep social contacts which prevents depression

Prevent blood clots

Improve self esteem

help you control weight

lesson the risk of becoming anxious

And in general, Improving quality of life.


As with any exercise program on a normal basis, there are many types of programs. Again, it depends of what treatments your on, your physical condition to start with, and what type of cancer you have. I mean, with lung cancer, you don’t want to go out and train for a marathon. From simple Stretching exercises, to walking, power walking, jogging, a stationary bicycle or bike riding slowly around your neighborhood, to strengthening type exercise and so forth. One warning that you should heed, is never exercise more than moderately or to the point of exhaustion.Always start slowly , build slowly and know your body and what you can handle.

According to the ACS, the following are more precautions:

Do not exercise if your red blood cell count is low

If you have a low white blood cell count or if you take medications that make you less able to fight infection, stay away from public gyms and other public places

Do not exercise if the levels of minerals in your blood, such as sodium and potassium are not normal

Do not exercise if you have unrelieved pain, nausea/vomiting

If you have a catheter or feeding tube, do not do muscle resistance training that uses muscles in that area of the catheter .

Do not use heavy weights or do exercises that put too much stress on your bones if you have cancer which has spread to the bones. Some more things to consider, is putting stress on arthritis or you have nerve damage, poor vision poor balance or weakness.not to mention numbness as you will be more susceptible to fall’s

When you're exercising, watch or inspect your body daily. Watch for swelling in your feet, hands, and joints.

In general, check with your doctor and keep it fun