Exercise and Chemo

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Exercise and Chemo

by caroline4 on Tue Oct 15, 2013 03:07 PM

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Is this a good idea or not?  In layman's terms, fat turns into muscle, but wouldn't this be mucking around with cells?  I want to be as fit as I can, but not sure it is a good idea.  Anybody know?  Thanks.

RE: Exercise and Chemo

by Dochas on Wed Oct 16, 2013 05:32 PM

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Hi Caroline4,

i think the benefit is more in maintaining a healthy body and heart as much as possible and to reduce the fatigue associated with the treatment - strange as this may sound. It's not about preparing for a marathon or swimming across the English channel of course, but there seems to be increasing proof that chemo is better tolerated if you don't spend all day on the sofa but stay reasonably active.

From the first link below:

"Research strongly suggests that exercise is not only safe during cancer treatment, but it can also improve physical functioning and many aspects of quality of life. Moderate exercise has been shown to improve fatigue (extreme tiredness), anxiety, and self-esteem. It also helps heart and blood vessel fitness, muscle strength, and body composition (how much of your body is made up of fat, bone, or muscle).

People getting chemotherapy and radiation who already exercise may need to do so at a lower intensity and build up more slowly than people who are not getting cancer treatment. The main goal should be to stay as active as possible and slowly increase your level of activity over time after treatment.

Are there special precautions survivors should consider?

Certain issues for cancer survivors may prevent or affect their ability to exercise. Some effects of treatment may increase the risk for exercise-related problems. For instance:

  • People with severe anemia (low red blood cell counts) should delay activity until the anemia is better.
  • Those with weak immune systems should avoid public gyms and other public places until their white blood cell counts return to safe levels.
  • People getting radiation should avoid swimming pools because chlorine may irritate the skin at the treatment area.

If you were not active before diagnosis, you should start with low-intensity activities and then slowly increase your activity level. Certain people should use extra caution to reduce their risk of falls and injuries:

  • Older people
  • Those with bone disease (cancer in the bones or thinning bones, such as osteoporosis)
  • People with arthritis
  • Anyone with nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)"

Here are some links to interesting articles:




While all of that is generally true, every case is different and it's certainly best to check with your oncologist.

In my case, for breast cancer, I was encouraged to be as active as I could. Now post treatment exercise is one of the ways I can lower the risk of a reccurrence.

All the best 


RE: Exercise and Chemo

by caroline4 on Thu Oct 17, 2013 12:07 PM

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Hi Dochas

Thank you very much for the information you have given and supplied via links.  I particularly found the second site valuable as it covers loads of information about different aspects of life that could/can affect you during and after having cancer.

I have read and been told that chemo can put strain on your heart, so I don't want to do anything too strenuous.  I intend to do muscle enhancing slow excercises to encourage their definition, and I know excercise produces endorphins which helps us feel good, which is a much-needed feeling atm. 

It is a shame I can't go swimming because of all the bits 'n bobs connected to my body, however, I will be able to, next year, all going to plan, and I always have my helpful dog to take for lovely, slow walks:) 

Thanks again!


RE: Exercise and Chemo

by caroline4 on Wed May 21, 2014 11:50 AM

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erm..........I'm not sure advertising is welcome in CC!

RE: Exercise and Chemo

by Shelley01 on Tue Dec 02, 2014 02:07 PM

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On May 21, 2014 11:50 AM caroline4 wrote:

erm..........I'm not sure advertising is welcome in CC!

Everything in moderation. And if you feel fit enough then do it, it can only benefit you later.

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