Getting to know the basics
Starting with the general principles around physical activity during and beyond cancer treatment, published US and Australian guidelines are as follows – they reflect my experience and beliefs as well:
- Avoid inactivity and try to return to some movement as soon as possible after surgery.
- Aim to continue to be physically active as far as possible while undergoing cancer treatments, but be aware that treatment-related toxicities can increase the risk of anaemia, infection and affect cardiorespiratory fitness and bone health.
- After cancer treatments, most people should take the time to build up to age-appropriate guidelines for health-enhancing physical activity (typically aerobic exercise for two and a half hours per week, resistance exercise twice weekly, and balance/coordination exercise twice weekly).
- For those with cancer complications or comorbidities that prohibit moderate-intensity exercise, avoidance of total inactivity is advised.
Top tip: Remember every individual is different, so during chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and with some chronic or late appearing side effects of cancer treatment, it is essential to get further knowledge on how to recognise contraindications and / or which exercises have to be modified or excluded.
BY STEPHEN PRICE