Written by Laura Rogers, M.D., MPH, FACSM
Exercise is an important part of cancer recovery. Exercising regularly can be difficult, especially for cancer survivors who face unique exercise barriers related to cancer, such as severe fatigue and surgical limitations. Most importantly, cancer survivors should choose exercises that are safe and enjoyable. It is also helpful to ask friends or family members to exercise with you and give you encouragement. Find another cancer survivor to talk with about exercising during the cancer experience and preparing for barriers to exercise. Focus on the exercise benefits that are most important to you when you need extra motivation to exercise. Set realistic exercise goals and keep a record of your exercise that you can display in a prominent place (e.g., the refrigerator) so you can feel good about your accomplishments. Start slow and gradually increase your exercise to help avoid injury. Don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor if you have cancer side effects or other health conditions that may interfere with your ability to exercise safely. Remember: consistency is as important as the amount of exercise, so keep moving!
Additional information on exercising regularly after a cancer diagnosis:
American Cancer Society: Keeping your exercise program on track
Lance Armstrong Foundation