What we’ll cover
Our physiotherapist Jason Lee recently discussed the role that exercise plays during cancer treatment. Exercise has been shown to have numerous benefits both on physical and mental wellbeing during and after cancer treatment. Physiotherapists are well equipped to assist and ensure you safely exercise during or after cancer treatment.
Why is exercise important if I have cancer?
Exercise can be used to safely combat the side effects of cancer treatment. In fact, research has shown that exercise prescribed by a health professional has very little risk of causing harm. Cancer treatment has many unwanted side effects on the musculoskeletal system. This includes reduction in bone density, reduced muscle mass and reduced resilience in tendons. Resistance and strength training has been shown to counteract these side effects.
In addition, during cancer treatment other common side effects include fatigue, nausea, lymphoedema and pain. Moderate intensity exercise that increases your heart rate and speeds up your breathing, whilst appearing counterinitiative, is beneficial in the long run.
What exercises can I do if I have cancer?
Your physiotherapist can develop a tailored and individualised exercise program. In conjunction with your oncologist and GP, your physiotherapist will develop a program taking into consideration your diagnoses, current treatment and medical history.
The aim of exercise during cancer treatment is to be as physically active as your condition and abilities allow. If you are just starting out with exercise, a gradual program is important. Conversely, if you are already active prior to your cancer diagnoses, the aim of exercise is to retain as much fitness as possible during treatment.
A balanced program consisting of resistance training, aerobic exercise and core and flexibility is advised during and following cancer treatment.
The exercise program that is right for you will depend on your current fitness levels, previous exercise history, what you want to do and what your cancer team says is safe. Importantly, choose a form of exercise that you enjoy, is practical and convenient.
At Malvern East Physiotherapy, our team has had good success with clients managing cancer utilsiing Clinical pilates and clinical strength. These programs provide a tailored and individualised exercise programs under the supervision of our physiotherapists in a social environment.
If you are unsure where to start with exercise or what exercise may be best for you, contact our friendly team or book online today.
To learn more, have a listen to Jason alongside geriatrician Dr Jane Fyfield in the Better Ageing Podcast.