Staying active after Hodgkin's lymphoma treatment
Gradually making exercise part of your daily routine can help speed your recovery after Hodgkin's lymphoma treatment.
When you've recently had cancer, such as 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 some cancers from recurring.
Work in activity gradually
Before you start exercising, talk with your doctor about whether and how you can safely begin after 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.
Aug. 02, 2019
See more In-depth
- Keep up with your daily routine. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/day-to-day/daily-routine. Accessed May 29, 2018.
- Arden-Close E, et al. Health-related quality of life in survivors of lymphoma: A systematic review and methodological critique. Leukemia & Lymphoma. 2010;51:628. https://doi.org/10.3109/10428191003587263. Accessed May 29, 2018.
- Husson O, et al. High levels of physical activity are associated with lower levels of fatigue among lymphoma patients: Results from the longitudinal PROFILES registry. Acta Oncologica. 2015;54:678. https://doi.org/10.3109/0284186X.2014.996664. Accessed May 29, 2018.
- Will I be able to exercise during treatment? American Cancer Society. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/understanding-your-diagnosis/after-diagnosis/will-i-be-able-to-exercise.html. Accessed May 29, 2018.
- Facing forward: Life after cancer treatment. National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/facing-forward/AllPages. Accessed May 29, 2018.
- Survivorship. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed May 29, 2018.
- Rock CL, et al. Nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2012;62:242.
- Pophali P et al. The level of physical activity before and after lymphoma diagnosis impacts overall and lymphoma-specific survival. Blood. 2017;130(Suppl 1):914. http://www.bloodjournal.org/content/130/Suppl_1/914. Accessed May 29, 2018.
- Creagan ET (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jun. 5, 2018.