Exercise may be the furthest thing from your mind after a cancer diagnosis; however, exercise that focuses on functional fitness will help you carry out the activities of daily living and return to the activities you enjoy. A well-designed program can also decrease side effects and improve quality of life.
Each person is unique and heals differently. Moreover, there are many types of cancers, treatments and late-term side effects, each one affecting survivors in different ways. It is important, therefore, to work with a cancer exercise specialist or possibly a physical therapist who can design the best program for your unique situation and fitness level. Check with your physician or other specialist tracking your survivorship care for recommendations of qualified exercise providers.
For people who were active before surgery, it is imperative to slowly work back up to the previous level of activity. It is not wise to go back to a gym and continue with a pre-cancer exercise routine. Cancer survivors need to have patience; returning to your pre-cancer fitness level takes time and cannot be rushed. It is important to understand the implications of your particular surgery and the corrective exercises needed to improve recovery.
Some cancer survivors will need to exercise under supervision while others will be able to exercise independently. The type and scope of cancer and your overall medical condition and fitness level will determine whether a supervised program is needed. Even if you don’t need supervision, finding a program, either individual or small group, will help you to achieve your goals in a warm, friendly setting. The camaraderie and support of a small group can make taking care of your health enjoyable and fun.