Staying active after non-Hodgkin's lymphoma treatment

Gradually making exercise part of your daily routine can help speed your recovery after non-Hodgkin's lymphoma treatment.

When you've recently had cancer, such as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, you naturally might not think about hitting the gym. But research suggests that during and after recovery from cancer, regular exercise can do you a world of good. Among the many mind and body benefits of exercise, it can increase your sense of well-being after cancer treatment and speed your recovery.

Exercise doesn't necessarily mean a trip to the gym, though. You might need to start slowly and adjust the types of activities you do.

Potential health benefits

In addition to boosting your sense of well-being and speeding recovery, exercise can improve your overall quality of life. It can help:

  • Increase strength and endurance
  • Reduce pain
  • Increase appetite
  • Limit constipation and diarrhea
  • Fight fatigue and increase energy
  • Boost your mood and self-esteem
  • Reduce depression, anxiety and stress

Although more research is needed, early studies suggest that exercise also may reduce the risk of your cancer recurring.

Work in activity gradually

Before you start exercising, talk with your doctor about whether and how you can safely begin after non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. With your doctor's approval, start slowly and work your way up. The American Cancer Society recommends adult cancer survivors exercise for at least 150 minutes a week at a moderate intensity and strength train at least two days a week.

Adding physical activity to your daily routine doesn't take a lot of extra work. Focus on small steps to make your life more active. Take the stairs more often or park farther from your destination and walk the rest of the way. There are even exercises you can do in bed to help you stay flexible and reduce tension. A physical therapist can be a great resource.

When you're up to it, consider incorporating exercises such as swimming, walking, yoga and biking.

Sometimes you won't feel like exercising, and that's OK. Don't feel guilty if lingering treatment side effects keep you sidelined. When you feel up to it, take a walk around the block. Do what you can, and remember that rest is also important to your recovery.

June 26, 2018 See more In-depth