As an oncology pharmacist, cancer survivor, and internationally ranked powerlifter - a big question I get asked is when should you return to exercising after a cancer diagnosis?
Do you wait until after surgery? How long after?
Do you wait until after chemo? After radiation?
Will you ever be able to get back to exercising?
Great questions but often just riddled with misconceptions! The best time to start exercising after a cancer diagnosis is …right now!
You are using basic exercise movements in your everyday life without even realizing it.
How do you sit on the toilet? A squat.
How do you bend over to pick up clothes off the floor? A deadlift.
How do you grab a plate off the top shelf? An overhead press.
What most don’t realize, is by not ‘exercising’ you are actually delaying your recovery. There’s an old school conception that when you are sick, we need to wrap you up in a blanket and allow you to rest and heal. Not true. You need to start incorporating movements to help build up your tolerance to be able to complete the tasks of everyday life.
People have this misconception that ‘exercising’ is this intense endeavor. You’ll be dripping with sweat, straining muscles, pushing yourself to the limits. No. No. No. Exercise is anything and everything and all of the in between. Where you start is all relative to your abilities and limitations. For someone, this might mean basic stretches or for another, this might mean squatting at a gym.
Exercise has so many benefits for cancer fighters:
-Decrease cancer recurrence
-Reduce cancer related fatigue
-Improved mental health (decreased anxiety, depression and improved self-esteem)
-Decrease cancer related side effects
Can you imagine if a medication was discovered that accomplished all that? We don’t have that medication but we do have exercise (and it’s free).
Want to know more about how to incorporate exercise into your treatment and recovery? Contact me about the Cancer Fighter Exercise Program at firstname.lastname@example.org
Amydee PharmD’s Cancer Fighter Program:
Cancer Cancer Society:
Clinical Oncology Society of Australia:
The information shared does not constitute a medical consultation and is not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult with your doctor or other qualified health provider for questions regarding a medical condition.
Please do not disregard professional health provider advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. In the event of a medical emergency, call a doctor or 911 immediately.