Keep in mind…

If you are a cancer survivor  and interested in beginning an exercise program, there are some things to consider.

First of all,  tell your oncology team that you are going to begin an exercise program. Let them know that your goal is to engage in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week.  Cardio work on 3 days and resistance work on two days.  You will want to rest a minimum of one day in between your resistance workouts.

Once they give you the ok here are a few other precautions:

  • If your WBC’s are low or if you are taking meds that may impair your immune system avoid public gyms and other public places.
  • Do not exercise if you have anemia.
  • Do not exercise if the levels of minerals in your blood are not normal.  This can occur if you have diarrhea and vomiting.
  • If you have osteoporosis or cancer that has spread to the bone, keep the resistance work light.
  • If you have balance problems or numbness in your feet avoid uneven surfaces.  You might consider using a recumbent bike.
  • Let your medical team know if you have shortness of breath while at rest, or from a small amount of exertion, swollen ankles, or unexplained weight gain.
  • To avoid skin irritation, stay away from chlorine in pools if you are undergoing radiation.
  • If you have a catheter avoid water.  You will also want to avoid resistance training the muscles in the area of a catheter or port, you don’t want to dislodge it.  Talk to your medical team.
  • If you have a Hickman® Line or PICC line, you can move that shoulder in any direction but avoid strong swinging or forceful stretching. Avoid heavy resistance exercise on that side and be careful not to pull on the line.

Just remember, exercising while undergoing treatment is ok. Just use common sense and keep your medical team apprised.


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