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- Exercise for people living with cancer (with videos)
- What is exercise?
What is exercise?
If you are being treated for cancer or recovering, you may think it’s important to rest, but research shows that exercise benefits most people with cancer during and after treatment.
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What is exercise?
Physical activity is a broad term for body movement that uses your muscles, and may speed up your breathing and heart rate. It includes exercise sessions as well as some everyday activities, like housework, gardening and walking the dog.
Exercise is usually structured physical activity that aims to improve health and fitness. It can include doing planned or specific movements (like you would in a yoga class or with an exercise physiologist), or other physical activity (like going for a bike ride or walk).
Learn about the benefits of different types of exercise.
We explain why exercise is important for people with or recovering from cancer, and any precautions to take. We also give a guide to how much exercise you can aim to do. Most people take some time to get back into exercise, so try to be patient with yourself – it’s okay to try a little to start with and work up to what you need to do.
Check with your health care team before starting any exercise. The exercises in this section suit most people, but may not be safe for you.
I walk 3 or 4 times a week. It gives me extra energy and helps clear my mind. If I don’t do any walking, I really notice the difference in my energy levels and my moodRima
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.
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