Getting Back In Shape After Chemotherapy

Woman sitting on a exercise ball, smiling
After surviving cancer, health is a focal point in an individual’s life. With cancer threatening to return, it is important for an individual to eat healthy and get proper exercise.
Kerry Courneya, PhD, professor and Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Cancer at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada, explains, “Several recent studies suggest that higher levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of the cancer coming back, and a longer survival after a cancer diagnosis.”

Conversely, being overweight after chemotherapy has been linked to a higher risk of cancer recurrence. There is no set time after chemotherapy in which you should begin exercising. Rather, a patient should exercise as soon as possible (with their doctors’ okay, of course). Cancer survivors understandably tend to slow down their normal activity in their daily lives. Here poses a problem because an individual will remain inactive until they make that leap to busy themselves again. Without exercise, one may fall victim to depression, stress and fatigue.

Just like it works for other adults, exercise strengthens muscles, makes the body lean and sheds weight for cancer survivors. Furthermore, exercise reduces fatigue, boosts self-confidence and improves an individual’s mood overall.

Here are some types of exercise that cancer survivors can start with on their journey to restoring their full health and maybe eventually becoming more fit than before.