Aug 14, 2019 11:00 AM

Staying active during cancer treatment can be difficult. Side effects, appointments, and stress can make it hard to keep moving.

But physical activity during cancer treatment can help you feel better and improve your quality of life. It actually helps improve side effects. Here are five questions patients ask when thinking about physical activity during their treatment.

Q. How can physical activity help me during my treatments?

A. A lot of research shows that physical activity can help increase health and decrease several side effects. Consistent and regular exercise is the key.

Activity can improve your physical condition:

  • Strengthen your immune system
  • Keep your bones strong
  • Increase your muscle mass

All these things increase your ability to do your daily activities

Physical activity can help decrease these side effects of treatment:

  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Pain

Managing side effects helps maintain your quality of life.

Q. Who can I talk to about creating an exercise plan that is right for me?

A. Talk with your doctor before starting any type of exercise. This is extra important for cancer patients. Your type of cancer and the treatment you receive may change the exercise program that’s right for you. It is important to talk with your doctor about what type of physical activity is best. Ask your care team about resources available where you are treated.

The Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness and Integrative Health Center provides a POWER Program for Huntsman Cancer Institute patients. Patients work with a doctor and cancer exercise specialists to create a personal exercise program.


Q. Is it safe for me to exercise during all of my treatments?

A. Generally, yes! It is important to talk with your doctor when you decide to start exercising. After certain treatments, it is important to follow your doctor’s advice about how long you should wait before taking part in certain activities. Ask your health care team if there is a cancer exercise specialist you can talk with about how you can safely keep physical activity in your life during treatment.

Q. I do not have the energy to go to the gym. What are other ways I can increase my physical activity?

A. There are many simple ways to add more physical activity to your daily life. Parking farther away at the grocery store and walk in. Climb the stairs instead of taking elevators. Do some stretches for a few minutes each day.

Q. How do I know if my body needs rest or physical activity when I feel tired or fatigued?

A. Be careful not to overdo exercise. Pay attention to how your body feels during and after activities. Take a rest when you need to. You can break the activity into shorter sessions.

When your body and brain feel tired but resting does not help, you may have cancer-related fatigue. If exercising doesn’t feel good or makes you feel worse, stop exercising and talk with your doctor before continuing.

For any cancer questions, please reach out to our cancer information specialists at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Call 888-424-2100 or e-mail


Cancer touches all of us.

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