Exercise and cancer: Questions and Advice from the Online Community

7 minute read time.
Exercise and cancer: Questions and Advice from the Online Community

Physical activity plays a crucial role in the lives of those affected by cancer, whether you are currently facing a cancer diagnosis or undergoing treatment. In this blog, we’ll highlight some of the questions asked and advice given in our Online Community.

Give it time and take it slow 

It can be tempting to get moving too quickly post-op, specifically once you start feeling better and with renewed energy. In a post-op scenario, one Community member was eager to get back on his Ducati, motorbike. He reached out to the Community for some advice. 

A few members of the forum were quick to reply with some words of caution.

"The most important thing was to keep active"

Many members of the Community write about experiencing fatigue during chemotherapy. One member expressed their constant tiredness and sought advice.

A Community champion replied, sharing the advice that a nurse had given him during his first round of chemotherapy.

Listening to experts and your body

A member of the breast cancer forum shared their experience of continuing with strength training during chemotherapy. Their story includes helpful bits of insight and advice.

How can I be more active?

Remember, a lot of things you do in your daily life count as ways to be active, such as walking around the house, doing simple exercises in your bed, gardening, playing games with your children and doing housework.

One of the best forms of exercise is walking. This could be brisk walking or a slow stroll through a park. Six years ago, a member of the Breast Cancer Forum started a discussion on fatigue. On there, several people wrote about needing inspiration/incentive to get out and walk. They went on to create the Walking back to happiness thread which is still going strong. It’s a discussion full of encouragement, photos, advice, and real talk.

“Be Kind to yourself”

It can be very disheartening when you aren’t able to do the same amount of physical activity or the things that once brought you joy. The online Community is here for you to share your feelings and find support from those who understand.

Is it safe to exercise when you have cancer? Info from the experts

It is usually safe to start doing some physical activity during or after treatment. However, cancer experiences vary widely, so it's vital to remember that what works for one person may not be suitable for another. We encourage all Community members to consult their healthcare team to develop a personalised exercise program that works with their unique circumstances and physical function.

There are many health benefits to fitting exercise into your daily routine. There are international guidelines for physical activity and cancer that were developed by the American College of Sports Medicine. They are supported by the National Cancer Institute and the British Association of Sport and Exercise Science. They advise that:

  • physical activity is safe during and after cancer treatment
  • you should try to avoid being inactive
  • you should try to get back to your normal activities as soon as possible after treatment.

If possible, slowly build up to the recommended physical activity levels.

For more information on the benefits of exercise while living with cancer, please follow the links below:

Share your experience with the Community

If you've found inspiration, guidance, or have your own insights to share about exercise and cancer, we invite you to join the conversation. Please leave your thoughts or personal experiences in the comments below

  • I have found walking each day as much as I can has kept me going. Walking in my park haJust completed 12 chemo sessions and it hasn't been easy. 

  • Ditto, with the help of my husband we ventured out everyday for a small walk, which eventually became a good hour or so towards the end of my treatment.  I did have a problem with aching legs, but after a reduction in treatment, it eased up,  but not quite entirely.  I still have a listless feeling in my legs at times. On reflection, I know it did help me a lot to get some mobility going.  I received that advise on this website, so I know it worked for me.  Wishing you continued  health!

  • Hi I'm in the middle of my treatment, 4 rounds of chemo done with an op next. I walk whenever I feel ok just for the fresh air and exercise. Love bike riding too but out of the question at the moment. I think any gentle exercise when you can is good for you

  • Hi everyone new on here I have been diagnosed with AML in June 2023 , everything has changed in life , but I have been told that having had chemotherapy I will need stem cell treatment soon . Anyone on here had stem cell treatment and how was it for them ?

  • I take the dog for a walk each day in the park and Ziggy  being a dog stops and sniffs every tree and dog  he meets so a slow steady walk talking to other dog owners takes me about an hr and all that fresh air and being out of the house is very beneficial.and good for the spirits.. xx