Living with cancer blog

Exercise a good prescription for cancer survivors

By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. November 20, 2012

We've talked about the benefits of exercise before. However, this time even more research supports the idea that people with a cancer diagnosis should be active throughout all stages of survivorship.

The idea has gone as far as encouraging doctors to prescribe exercise as a strategy to improve quality of life and long term outcomes for cancer survivors.

The research is strong showing positive benefits for cancer survivors, including:

  • Reducing fatigue
  • Improving balance and flexibility
  • Boosting energy and mood
  • Improving heart and bone health
  • Cutting your risk of cancer returning

Adding exercise and movement to your day doesn't need to be complicated. Start slow and be creative. Even small changes in your daily routine can make a difference. Getting started can be the hardest part, so here are a few ideas:

  • Talk with your health care provider first if you have any long-term medical conditions.
  • Plan your strategies — try adding 10, 20 and 30 minute sessions of some form of activity each day.
  • Choose activities you enjoy — it'll be easier to stick with your plan that way.
  • Explore new ways to exercise — dance, walk, climb stairs, swim, etc. All movement counts.
  • Wear a pedometer — tracking your progress can be a great way to give yourself positive feedback to add more steps every day (1 mile is about 2,000 steps).
  • Make it a habit — it takes about 30 days to train your brain into the habit.

Has your health care provider prescribed exercise for you? Share your thoughts on the topic. Follow me on Twitter at @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.

With

Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.

Follow on Twitter: @SherylNess1

Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.

13 Comments Posted

Nov. 20, 2012