Movement during and after treatment can work wonders for your physical and mental wellbeing. Of course, if you are trying to engage in movement during treatment, it is best to get approval from your doctor first. Always ensure you are moving safely and listening to your body as you engage in any sort of movement!
We know that exercise can help to reduce fatigue, anxiety, depression and sleep disturbances in cancer patients during and after treatment. Exercise can also help with symptom management, preservation of muscle function, pain control and provide an increased quality of life.
What Does the Research Say?
Fifty AML patients who were undergoing chemotherapy participated in a walking program where they walked 30 minutes daily for 10 days. Patients reported a statistically significant reduction in fatigue both at days 5 and 10.
Strength training combined with aerobic exercise 3 times per week, twice daily for 30 minutes has been shown to reduce fatigue, depression, maintain quality of life and may reduce inflammatory markers. These evidence-based benefits are great motivation to get moving!
Here are some gentle exercise tips:
- Exercise when your energy levels are at their best. Rest when your energy levels are low.
- Personalize your exercise routine to fit your level of fitness and modify your routine as needed as you move through your treatment protocol.
- Start small and move often instead of overexerting yourself for extended periods of time.
- Build up your stamina over time. Make small advancements like adding a few minutes to your routine each week.
- Choose an activity that uses your muscle at least 2 times per week. Examples include gardening, house chores and using resistance bands or light hand weights.
- Make sure you are eating well and hydrating well before and after your exercise.
- Most importantly, participate in an activity that you enjoy and that feels good!
about the author
Katie joined HealthTree as the Community Director for AML in 2021. She is a registered dietitian who previously worked at the VA hospital in Dallas, Texas where she coached veterans with blood cancer on how to use nutrition to improve their treatment outcomes and minimize cancer-related side effects. Katie is passionate about health education and patient empowerment. In her spare time, she loves to experiment with new recipes in the kitchen, spend time running outdoors and travel to new places.