Research has shown that exercising can be both safe and helpful for cancer patients in treatment. However, the prospect of incorporating more movement into their lives can be daunting for some. Side effects from cancer treatments, pain from operations and exhaustion from medications can all cause cancer patients to feel more resistant to exercising, but there are gentle ways to move your body that can actually help alleviate those problems.
For cancer patients, some potential benefits of physical activity include:
- Reducing fatigue
- Improving some symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Increasing your appetite
- Improving muscle strength and bone health
- Strengthening your immune system
- Reducing treatment side effects
- Improving sleep
- Improving your overall quality of life
If you want to be more active and don’t know where to start, first talk to your care team about creating an exercise plan that meets your needs. There are also plenty of online resources for cancer patients looking to exercise more. One such resource is content created by Kelly Reed, a doctor of physical therapy, board certified oncology specialist and certified lymphedema therapist. Her videos, found on YouTube and her other social media pages, feature exercises appropriate for patients with various cancer diagnoses at varying stages of their diseases.
If you want to get started with some gentle movement to help you feel better, both physically and mentally, check out this seated, full body stretching routine from Kelly.