Exercising With Cancer

At Longevity Personal Training and Exercise Physiology in Edgecliff, Lindfield, Marrickville and Randwick our Accredited Exercise Physiologists treat many clients undergoing treatment and recovering from cancer.


“An estimated 145,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia this year, with that number set to rise to 150,000 by 2020.”- Cancer Council

In the past many cancer patients were instructed to rest or avoid exercise during their cancer treatment. We now recognise that scientifically; this advice is incorrect and that all cancer patients can benefit from some form of exercise. In May last year, Clinical Oncology Society of Australia, Cancer Council and many other cancer organisations called for exercise to be prescribed all cancer patients as part of routine cancer care.


To read more about this movement check out this blog from the Cancer Council:



Why is Exercise Beneficial During Cancer Treatment?

There are several benefits to exercising with cancer and exercising during the treatment phase:

  • Help improve symptoms of treatment such as fatigue
  • Help recovery after treatment cycles
  • Depending on the type of cancer, exercise can improve the way you respond to treatment
  • Treat and manage other co-morbidities, health conditions and injuries
  • Improve overall health, reduce risk of recurrence and prevent future chronic health conditions
  • Overall improved quality of life


What Type of Exercise is Appropriate?

The guidelines for exercising with cancer are very similar to the Australian Physical Activity Guidelines.


“The evidence-based guidelines recommend people with cancer be as physically active as their current ability and conditions allow.” – Cancer Council

  1. At least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic exercise weekly (such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming)
  2. Two to three resistance exercise session each week involving moderate to vigorous intensity exercises targeting the major muscle groups (such as weight lifting).


However, cancer patients should consider several factors when deciding to start exercising:

  • Seek the advice and support of a health professional such as an Exercise Physiologist
  • Exercise should be individualised – specific to your needs and ability level
  • A graduated introduction – building up to meeting the guidelines
  • Where can I exercise – Home? At an Exercise Physiology Clinic? Outdoors? An exercise class?
  • Consider all exercise session elements: warm up, cardio, resistance training, balance, flexibility and cool down.


Other Considerations

  • Try and be consistent with training – create a routine
  • Exercise with family/friends for extra encouragement and support
  • Find exercises that you enjoy and can look forward to
  • Make use of support apps/web groups and info pages
  • Join a support group or Cancer community


An example of a Cancer Council resource which demonstrates some simple resistance training exercises:




Below is a video from the Cancer Council outlining the importance of exercising after a cancer diagnosis:



For more information and individualised support with exercising during cancer treatment, call Longevity on 1300 964 002.

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