You are fighting for your life. Stay Strong!
Cancer treatments are tough – they need to be, this is an important fight! They may make you tired, and you may have other unpleasant side effects. Exercise can be a very useful tool in combating those symptoms. Rest is vital, but exercise can actually help you feel more energized. Exercise can help relieve constipation and improve sleep. Some people also report better concentration (less of the fuzzy-thinking that can come with treatment), feeling less nauseous, and fewer headaches with exercise.
But, no, exercise will not keep your hair from falling out – sorry!
In addition, regular exercise does appear to improve patients’ adherence to their prescribed treatment regimen. 
Beyond the physical benefits, exercise offers many psychological benefits as well. Numerous studies have now shown a positive effect of exercise on feelings of control, symptoms of depression, and body image. You’ll stay engaged with your body in a positive way. Exercise promotes a sense of control and well-being. As your muscles get strong, you can feel your spirit getting stronger, too.
Try to get some exercise most days, even if you can only manage 5-10 minutes at a time. Some exercise is always better than none. Exercise at a level that is appropriate for you. (to find your target heart rate – click here) Find an exercise buddy – a friend or maybe one of your fellow patients. Make plans to exercise together – go for walks or bike rides, lift weights. Having a partner can help keep you motivated, especially when you’re not feeling great.
As you go through treatment, what you can expect from your body may change. Accept whatever state your body is in right now and build from there. Today is just a starting point.
It’s important to start slowly. Even if you were in great shape before treatment, you need to begin exercising moderately. These are powerful treatments and you need to find out how your body will react to exercise now. If you were not active before, this is a great time to start a new, healthier lifestyle. Begin slowly. Go for a walk, try a few exercises, and see how your body reacts.
- You are in a fight.
- You will need endurance.
- You will need focus.
- You will need to be strong and stay strong.
The key is to start!
Need help with setting up an exercise plan? Please click here »
- ^ Courneya KS, Segal RJ, Mackey JR, et al: "Effects of Aerobic and Resistance Exercise in Breast Cancer Patients Receiving Adjuvant Chemotherapy: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial", 2007 J Clin Oncol 25:4396-4404.