How to Boost Fitness During and After Cancer Treatment

Exercise is considered an important additional therapy during and after cancer treatments, according to Harvard Health. While some cancer patients may not feel well enough to work out, others will have the capacity to exercise at home. Cancer treatments vary widely, from chemo to surgery to targeted drug therapy and beyond, so every cancer patient is different. If you want to exercise, speak to your oncologist and find out how mild, moderate or strenuous your workouts can be. In certain cases, exercise may need to be postponed until later on in recovery. If you do get the ‘all clear’ to exercise, these techniques can boost your fitness and speed up the pace of your physical rehabilitation.

Try restorative yoga at home

A study published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation showed that females with Stage II breast cancer benefited from regular exercise, as it helped them to sleep better, elevate their moods, access more energy, and feel stronger. The advantages of regular physical activity for cancer patients (and for those recovering from cancer) are conclusive. The benefits have been established via a host of peer-reviewed studies, including the breast cancer patient study mentioned here. One easy way to begin is by learning five or six restorative yoga poses and holding them for about five minutes each. You should be able to find apps, streaming video and other instructional tools which help you to master restorative yoga moves at home. For best results, invest in a few bolsters and blocks that help you to achieve correct form without physical strain.

Use exercise machines to build strength

If you’ve lost strength due to cancer treatment and you want to feel stronger, using home exercise machines will be a great way to rehabilitate your body. Investing in equipment like an elliptical or stationary bike are two potentially low-pressure machines that offer the opportunity for a solid workout from home. Another scenario is that you’ve gained weight during treatment and want to lose it. With cancer treatment, weight loss is more common than weight gain, but some people do put on pounds. Home exercise machines, such as elliptical machines or rowing machines, offer cardio workouts that boost healing blood flow, burn calories and tone muscles. If you’re just getting back to exercise, start with brief workouts a few times a week and build up to half an hour of exercise four times a week. You’ll love what these workouts do for your body and your mood.

Do a little gardening

If you want to get active at home, why not take up gardening during or after cancer treatment? If you have a yard to garden in, you’ll find that being outside, among green grass and flowers, is very relaxing. If you don’t have access to a yard, do a little container gardening on a patio or start an herb garden in your kitchen. Gardening promotes heart health and relieves stress. It also gives a sense of accomplishment that’s very fulfilling. Participating in nature is inspiring and some types of gardening require plenty of physical activity, including crouching, arm movements and lifting.

Exercise is advantageous to most cancer patients and people who have recovered from cancer. Adding physical activity to your routine during this time in your life will give you strength and help you to cope with the strain, allowing you to feel powerful again.