The best ways to bounce back after cancer treatment
In the past, doctors advised cancer patients to rest after treatment, but today, more clinicians and oncologists recommend exercise as a strategy to reduce side effects of treatment, speed recovery and improve overall quality of life.
By Reader's Digest
In a comprehensive evidence review by the UK-based McMillan Cancer Support, physical activity after cancer treatment was found to reduce the impact of debilitating side effects, such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, impaired mobility and weight changes.
During the months following cancer treatment gradually start to become more active, and follow these 8 tips:
1. Find an activity you enjoy
A yoga class or a relaxing walk in the park works wonders.
2. Do resistance work
Easy exercises such as bicep curls, squats and lunges will have a positive impact.
3. Become gradually physically active
Start with low-intensity exercise, such as easy walking, or even housework for 150 minutes weekly. Build this up to a moderate intensity (60–70 per cent of maximum heart rate).
4. Make it a habit
Frequency and consistency are important.
5. Avoid swimming after radiotherapy
It can cause skin irritation if done too soon afterwards.
6. Train at a low intensity
High-intensity interval training during treatment can depress the immune system. Recommended activities include yoga, pilates and walking.
7. Exercise to relieve stress
A punching bag or boxing gloves and pads are perfect, but don’t overdo it!
8. Listen to your body
Check with your doctor before embarking on any new exercise or fitness regime.