Talk to your Doctor
Even if you feel well enough to run a half-marathon, check with your doctor, physiotherapist or occupational therapist first. They will want to encourage your enthusiasm, but they will also know more about potential complications. Alternatively, they may be able to help you with symptoms that are preventing you from exercising, or with some advice on getting moving.
Work out with others
If you are capable of exercising but can’t get motivated try walking or cycling with a friend. Make sure they understand your limitations. You may find an exercise partner in a cancer support group.
Work out alone
Going at it alone may work if you are concerned about holding others back, or even a little awkward about your physical restrictions. You may simply enjoy the time alone.
Look for alternatives
If your choice of exercise is ruled out, there may be other things you can do. Swimming or cycling may replace weight-bearing activities such as jogging, walking, yoga or tai chi may be options. If you are not into exercise as such, maybe dancing or gardening will interest you.
Some general guidelines for exercising when you have advanced cancer:
- Listen to your body - if it is screaming for you to stop, then perhaps you should.
- Give yourself a day's rest after chemotherapy and other taxing treatments.
- Try working out in short daily bouts, as opposed to one gruelling session a week.
- If you are too exhausted to work out, some stretching or taking a stroll outdoors may suffice.
- If you are bedridden, speak to a physiotherapist about any exercise you can do.
- For more information
- Seek advice through the Cancer Council Helpline (13 11 20).
- The Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel has a useful fact sheet on Cancer – Exercise to Help You Cope.
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Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.
Last updated 30 August 2015