The 6 Things You Can Do to Fight Cancer Fatigue With Exercise

By Nasser Yassine on May 5 / 2017

[Cancer, Cancer Coaching]Comments

Cancer related fatigue can dramatically affect your ability to perform daily tasks. Contrary to popular belief, engaging in physical activity or exercise can actually help improve your energy levels as long as it’s within a tolerable level. Here are some simple tips to help you gradually incorporate exercise throughout your day even when you’re feeling low on energy:

  1. Start off with small 5-10min bouts instead of aiming for longer sessions. Simple activities such as walking or using a stationary bicycle can be safe and effective ways to build small amounts of activity throughout the day. A client once told me that he decided to march in place in his living room during commercial breaks when he was watching TV to gradually build activity in his day.
  2. Aim for low to moderate intensity exercises. Exercising at a high intensity may actually worsen your symptoms of fatigue. If you’re unable to maintain a conversation while exercising then that may be a sign that you’re working too hard. Note that what you considered moderate intensity activities before cancer might now be higher intensity for the time being, so remember to readjust your expectations to not overdo it.
  3. Find something that you enjoy and that will bring you pleasure. This will help make it easier to motivate yourself to take action. For example if you enjoy the outdoors, try to plan your walks outside.
  4. Have a buddy system. Exercising with someone else can make the experience more enjoyable which can sometimes improve your chances of following through with your goals.
  5. Speak to a kinesiologist, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist if you’re looking for more specific exercise advice.
  6. Set up an appointment with a Cancer Coach to discuss other ideas to help you incorporate physical activity into your daily life.

Still having difficulty? Speak to your doctor to explore any underlying factors that may be worsening your symptoms of fatigue.

If you or someone you love is struggling with Cancer Fatigue – please reach out to the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation’s Cancer Coaching program.

We can help.

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