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- Exercise for people living with cancer (with videos)
- Balance (video)
Balance exercises are designed to help you to be stable while standing, walking or doing other activity.
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Remember to check with your health care team before beginning any exercise program. Although we have included flexibility exercises to suit most people, some may not be right for you.
Balance exercises may be important if you have been inactive for some time – like when you’ve been in hospital or in bed for a while. Balance exercises can help people with certain types of cancer that affect their stability, such as brain or other head cancers, or that affect a leg or leg strength. People with peripheral neuropathy or weak bones may also find balance exercises helpful.
How you do balance exercises
Some balance exercises are simple and can be done by yourself, others may need someone to help you. You could also use a wall or a stable chair to provide support if needed. If you have a balance issue, a health professional can design a program for you. Take care when beginning and have someone with you if you are not doing exercises with an exercise physiologist or physiotherapist.
Some simple balance exercises
- Stand with feet hip distance apart.
- Lift your arms to shoulder height and extend them out to the sides.
- Lift your left foot off the floor and bend your knee to bring your heel towards your bottom.
- Hold for up to 30 seconds. Repeat on the opposite side.
- Do each side 3 times.
- Use a line in floorboards or tiles, a line of tape or any straight line.
- Like walking a tightrope, extend your arms out to the sides and walk slowly, being careful to keep your feet on the line at all times.
- Walk from heel to toe, counting at least 5 seconds before each step, until you reach the end.
Muscle groups: Legs, stomach, side and back
Equipment: Chair (optional)
- Stand on a soft but firm surface, such as an exercise mat or carpet.
- Slowly bend one knee to lift the foot off the ground so that you are balancing on the other leg. Keep your eyes on a fixed point in front of you and breathe slowly and deeply. Hold the pose for several seconds if you can.
- Lower your leg and put your foot back on the ground. Switch to the other leg and repeat.
⇑ You may want to start near a chair or wall so you can steady yourself.
⇑ For a challenge, put your hands on your head as you balance and/or close your eyes. Aim to increase the duration by a few seconds each week.
Download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Kirsten Adlard, Accredited Exercise Physiologist, The University of Queensland, QLD; Dr Diana Adams, Medical Oncologist, Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre, NSW; Grace Butson, Senior Physiotherapist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Kate Cox, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Wai Yin Chung, Consumer; Thomas Harris, Men’s Health Physiotherapist, QLD; Clare Hughes, Chair of Cancer Council’s Nutrition, Alcohol and Physical Activity Committee; Jen McKenzie, Level 1 Lymphoedema Physiotherapist, ESSA Accredited Exercise Physiologist, The McKenzie Clinic, QLD; Claudia Marck, Consumer; Dr David Mizrahi, Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Research Fellow, The Daffodil Centre at Cancer Council NSW and The University of Sydney, NSW; Prof Rob Newton, Professor of Exercise Medicine, Exercise Medicine Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, WA; Jason Sonneman, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.