Been Diagnosed With Cancer – When Do You Start To Exercise?


So you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and you want me to exercise?!So you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and you want me to exercise?! I heard this frequently when I approached ovarian cancer patients in chemotherapy clinics to participate in my research. I would sometimes sit for hours in the waiting rooms just to wait for a two minute conversation with a patient, in the hope to assist them to become more active.

I have no doubt that being diagnosed with cancer and having treatment is one of the most challenging things a person can ever go through, and without having cancer myself, i cannot act like I know what they are going through. However, what I do know – an emerging field of exercise oncology – the majority of patients, families and a lot of doctors do not know about. More and more support has been given by oncologists to tell their patients to be active and get moving, when in the past they were wrapped in cotton wool and told to rest. In fact, this has been shown in prospective studies for patients when asked how much they exercised, the ones who engaged in more, lived for longer.

Now going back to the original theme of when do you start to exercise? before or after surgery? during chemo? after chemo?

The answer is now.

Think of it this way – the healthier your body is from being active, the better you will recover from surgery, the stronger you will be during chemo and the more likely you will be back and feeling normal after treatment.

I’ve spoken with oncologists from around Australia and the world and I have told them exactly that. There have been studies for patients before surgery, during chemo and radiotherapy and after treatment, all showing benefits from increased aerobic activity (walking, cycling, aqua aerobics etc) and resistance training (weights).

The time to be active is now.

  1. A 5 minute walk around the block a day to start your regime.
  2. Next week aim at 10 minutes a day.
  3. The week after aim at 15 minutes.
  4. Before you know it, you have a larger endurance capacity, more energy and vitality again.
  5. Believe you can do it, because you can.

Please feel free to pass this blog onto any cancer survivor.

David Mizrahi About David Mizrahi: David currently works as a Clinical Research Associate at The Sydney Children’s Hospital. David is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and received a Master of Science from the University of New South Wales.

Advice For Contacting David: Interested in consulting with oncology patients, as well as setting up exercise-based programs in hospitals and oncology clinics. Contact me for more information – E: d.mizrahi@unsw.edu.au or M: 0404177629.

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Comments

  1. I cannot agree with this article more. I exercised, enjoyed yoga, rode my bike throughout chemo as well as worked part-time, as a nurse, last fall. I could have chosen to sit, as there were days I was a bit tired but chose to keep moving. I am a proven example that it made me feel I was not going to allow Cancer or the chemo defeat me. It didn’t! I ride fatbikes but my brother gave me a green Kona (green is my favorite color) and we deemed it “chemo bike.” I logged 400 miles throughout my chemo treatments! It felt wonderful! I love trails and nature…this is where I felt alive!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on wellbynatur.

    Liked by 1 person

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