Jul 07, 2021 2:00 PM

Read time: 2 minutes

couple jogging in the sun

Warm, sunny weather makes us want to be active outdoors. But cancer can make it harder to exercise in the summer sun—especially when temperatures soar. Heat can cause hot flashes or make them worse. It can make cancer-related fatigue worse. If you have side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, or anemia, you may get dehydrated more easily.

People with cancer may also get sunburns more easily. Radiation, some chemotherapy treatments, and certain cancer drugs can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s UV rays. Surgical scars also need to be protected from UV rays.

People with cancer should take extra precautions when exercising outdoors this time of year, say experts at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) Linda B. and Robert B. Wiggins Wellness and Integrative Health Center. Cancer exercise specialist Kim Walker and cancer rehabilitation physician Sonal Oza, MD, offer these tips to beat the heat and protect your skin.

Stay Cool When Exercising in Summer

  • Avoid the hottest part of the day by exercising in the morning or evening.
  • Exercise indoors when possible. Find classes on a streaming service or YouTube. HCI patients can also take virtual classes from the Wellness and Integrative Health Center.
  • Wear lightweight, breathable clothing.
  • Stay hydrated before, during, and after exercise.
  • Exercise for a shorter amount of time.
  • Try slower, mindfulness-based movement classes such as tai chi, qigong, or yoga. These activities may be easier to tolerate when it’s hot outside.
  • Learn what to do if you have signs and symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat rash, or heat cramps.

Prevent Sunburns

HCI patients can contact the Wellness and Integrative Health Center by calling 801-587-4585 to learn more about how to meet your fitness goals safely.

For more about these topics or any other cancer-related concerns, contact HCI’s Cancer Learning Center.

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Cancer touches all of us.

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