Can Exercise Speed up Cancer Recovery?

Updated at: Mar 19, 2013
Can Exercise Speed up Cancer Recovery?

Can Exercise Speed up Cancer Recovery? — Read to know if exercising during and after cancer treatment can allay cancer symptoms and accelerate cancer recovery or not.

Gunjan Rastogi
CancerWritten by: Gunjan RastogiPublished at: Aug 31, 2012

Can Exercise Speed up Cancer Recovery

With the diagnosis of cancer, exercise and fitness takes a backseat in a patient’s life, but most of the oncologists believe that exercise should be an integral part of a patient’s cancer treatment plan if his health permits him to workout. Many researches on the link between cancer and exercise have successfully shown that exercise during cancer treatment improves cardiopulmonary fitness and accelerates post treatment recovery.[Read: How to Motivate a Person with Cancer to Exercise]

If the patient was a fitness freak before the cancer was diagnosed or was moderately engaged in exercising, he will be asked to reduce his activity level during the cancer treatment due to fatigue caused by chemotherapy or radiation.  An oncologist is the only one who can  guide a person best on the exercise level during treatment.

Benefits of Exercising during Cancer Treatment

  • Light exercises during cancer treatment can boost a patient’s energy levels making him feel better and more enthusiastic.  
  • Moderate indulgence in exercising during chemotherapy or radiation combats fatigue and tiredness resulting from treatments.  
  • Exercising during cancer treatment can also help in the prevention of lymph edema or lymphatic obstruction i.e., blockage of the lymph vessels present in the tissues under the skin. This causes accumulation of lymph fluids in the tissue and leads to swelling and body stiffness.  An oncologist or a physical therapist can suggest certain exercises to prevent this disease.
  • Breast cancer treatment often leads to unwanted weight gain, which can further aggravate a patient’s condition and delay recovery. Therefore, moderate exercising can help the patient to combat weight gain while also pacing the recovery.
  • Working out will release endorphins, which are natural painkillers of the body and prevent the onset of depression.  Apart from this, the patient enjoys sound sleep and feels relaxed during the treatment.

Benefits of Exercises Post Cancer Treatment

  • Even after the treatment, a cancer patient is at an elevated risk of experiencing cardiovascular illnesses and fractured/broken bones apart from the downsides of cancer. The prolonged rest periods due to treatment sessions and their side-effects, such as fatigue make the patient more vulnerable to heart diseases. Exercising even after the cancer treatment can significantly cut the risk of heart ailments down.
  • Exercising regularly can diminish the chances of the cancer’s relapse. Apart from an exercise regimen, dietary modifications are a requisite for the patient’s overall well-being.
  • The exercises can aid in the reduction of pain caused by chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and may heal the damage caused.

An insight into the benefits of exercising during and after cancer treatment clearly shows that exercises can speed up cancer recovery while also improving the patient’s quality of life and his overall well-being.




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