I have cancer and am currently going through treatment. Is it safe for me to exercise?

Treloar Physiotherapy Clinic: Vancouver Physiotherapy

Yes! In most cases, exercise is safe during cancer treatments and doctors recommend it for most people. If you are unsure, check with your doctor.

Exercise has been consistently shown to be safe and effective for people with cancer, before, during and after cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries.  It can help to manage and improve many of the side effects commonly experienced (e.g. cancer-related fatigue, weight changes, muscle loss, general de-conditioning) and has been shown to improve quality of life and overall physical functioning.

The recommended amount of exercise for cancer is 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise per week and at least 2 resistance-training sessions per week.  Depending on your current level of fitness and the treatment side effects you are experiencing, you may need to start with much less than this amount and build up very slowly.  If you have low levels of energy right now, it is best to start with small amounts of daily exercise (e.g. 5 to 15 minutes) with the aim of being physically active on most days. Consistency is key!

If you have specific questions about exercise for cancer, we encourage you to speak with our Exercise Physiologist, Sarah Weller, who specializes in working with cancer patients.