It goes without saying that being physically active has a considerable number of benefits for both physical wellbeing and mental health, and that includes reducing the risk of getting certain types of cancer.
According to Cancer Research UK, physical activity can reduce the risk of contracting 16 types of cancer, and most people try to maintain an active lifestyle, which leads to one of the most common questions asked of oncologists when a treatment schedule is being finalised.
People want to know if they can exercise or continue to exercise whilst undergoing treatment, and the answer in almost every case is an emphatic yes. Not only is exercise during cancer treatment typically fine, but it can help to improve a person’s quality of life during treatment.
Exercise can help not only in the most obvious way of keeping the body moving, joints from locking up and blood pumping, but it can also help to reduce fatigue, one of the most common side effects of treatments like chemotherapy.
It can also help people to improve their mood, keep their spirits high, soothe anxiety and reduce depression.
Naturally, it is important for any patient going through cancer treatment to ask their oncologist first to make sure they are okay to exercise, and they need to be mindful that they may need to be careful about pushing themselves to their limits.
There are certain types of cancer treatments and complications that can either reduce one’s ability to exercise or means they have to take extra precautions.
For example, people undergoing treatments for bone cancer need to be very careful with the exercises they do to avoid putting undue stress on the bones and risking breakages.
Yoga, aqua aerobics and swimming are gentler alternatives that do not stress bones as much.
Similarly, people with peripheral neuropathy, often manifesting in pins and needles may have issues controlling weight machines and may be best sticking to stationary bikes and other similar devices.
As well as this, people recovering from surgery should ask their doctor when they can start exercising again in order to avoid placing too much stress on surgical scars.
Finally, people should avoid public gyms at first if they are undergoing treatments that affect their immune systems, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and immunotherapy.