Regular activity is an important part of staying healthy after treatment for cancer. Health professionals may suggest that you join an exercise class after treatment for cancer, especially if you have fatigue. Exercise is one of the ways to help your body recover after cancer treatment and it’s also a good way of keeping spirits up in the post-treatment period. Studies have shown that exercise boosts the immune system and increases energy levels.
Studies that have looked at breast cancer suggest that improving some lifestyle factors such as physical activity can reduce the risk of cancer coming back after treatment. There has also been some research showing the benefits of physical activity for survivors of colon, ovarian and prostate cancer. Research continues in this area.
It’s important to get advice from a health professional before starting a new exercise program, and to start slowly and build strength and stamina gradually.
Tips for doing regular exercise
- Start small and build up. Be gentle, particularly in the weeks just after treatment. Start with some slower forms of exercise like tai chi, gentle yoga or walking.
- Do something you enjoy. It’s much harder to keep a routine of a particular type of exercise if you hate it.
- Try something new. As your energy starts to return, try something you’ve always wanted to do but never got a chance
- Find an exercise partner. Exercising with a friend or relative can help you stick to your plans and stay motivated.
- Set yourself clear goals and plan a reward for yourself if you reach them. Choose a reward that will be sure to motivate you.
- Join a class. It can be hard to stay motivated on your own – it really helps to join a class or a group.