- Cancer Information
- Living well
- Exercise after a cancer diagnosis (including videos)
- Getting started
- Planning an exercise session
Planning an exercise session
There are three general parts to an exercise session.
The aim of a warm-up is to warm your muscles and to raise your heart rate slightly. This prepares your body for further activity.
A warm-up should include 5–10 minutes of low-intensity aerobic work mixed with some light stretching. Walking outside or using indoor equipment are good warm-up activities. Before strength training, use light weights to warm-up.
This is the part of an exercise session when the work is done. It should include activities from the three types of exercises:
Some people may need to exercise their pelvic floor muscles. This is especially important for those with leaking or incontinence issues.
The cool-down allows your heart rate and blood pressure to gently return to normal. It also helps your body and muscles lose the heat gained during the activity. After an aerobic exercise session, cool down with 5–10 minutes of relaxed activity such as slow walking or cycling, and after strength training, cool down with light stretching.
A/Prof Prue Cormie, Chair, COSA Exercise and Cancer Group, and Principal Research Fellow – Exercise Oncology, Australian Catholic University, NSW; Rebecca Cesnik, Accredited Exercise Physiologist, ACT; Dr Nicolas Hart, Senior Research Fellow, Exercise Medicine Research Institute, Edith Cowan University, and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Cancer Council WA; Stephanie Lamb, Life Now Project Officer, Cancer Council WA; John Odd, Consumer; Sharni Quinn, Clinical Lead Physiotherapist, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; Chris Sibthorpe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland; Jane Turner, Accredited Exercise Physiologist, Concord Cancer Centre, Concord Repatriation General Hospital, NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
The information on this page is also available for download.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Life after cancer treatment
Programs and support for people who have finished treatment
ENRICH – a free healthy lifestyle program
A face-to-face exercise and nutrition program for cancer survivors