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Benefits of Staying Active While on Your Cancer Journey – Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology Blog

Summer is a vibrant season filled with outdoor activities and fun opportunities, and being a cancer patient going through treatment shouldn’t hold you back from embracing the joy of being active. Staying active during this time can have numerous physical and emotional benefits. Here are seven ways for cancer patients to be active and enjoy the summer season while going through treatment, with a focus on safety, well-being, and finding enjoyable activities.

1. Strength Training:

Incorporate strength training exercises into your routine to help maintain muscle mass and bone density. Start with light weights or resistance bands and gradually increase the intensity as tolerated. Focus on compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups, such as squats, lunges, and modified push-ups. Consider working with a certified fitness professional who has experience working with cancer patients to ensure proper form and safety.

2. Balance and Stability Exercises:

Maintaining good balance and stability is essential, especially if you are experiencing side effects such as neuropathy or weakness. Include exercises that improve balance, such as yoga, Pilates, or specific balance drills. You can also try incorporating balance challenges into your daily activities, such as standing on one leg while brushing your teeth!

3. Interval Training:

Interval training involves alternating between periods of high-intensity exercise and recovery periods. This training can help improve cardiovascular fitness, burn calories, and boost metabolism. Consult with your healthcare team or a fitness professional to determine if interval training is appropriate for you and to create a customized program that suits your abilities and limitations.

4. Mind-Body Practices:

Consider incorporating mind-body practices like meditation, mindfulness, or relaxation techniques. These practices can help reduce stress, improve emotional well-being, and enhance overall quality of life. Find quiet moments to focus on your breath, engage in guided imagery, or practice gentle stretching combined with deep breathing.

5. Aquatic Exercise:

If you can access a pool, consider aquatic exercise!  These exercises provide a low-impact environment that reduces joint stress. Water workouts can help improve strength, flexibility, and cardiovascular fitness. Look for water aerobics classes designed for individuals with health conditions or consult with a physical therapist to develop a personalized aquatic exercise program.

6. Track Progress:

Keep a journal or use a fitness tracking app to record your activities, progress, and feelings before and after each exercise session. Tracking your progress can motivate and help you identify patterns or areas for improvement. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small, and use the data to adjust your routine as needed.

7. Stay Cool:

Heat sensitivity is common during cancer treatment, and exercising in hot weather can be challenging. If you choose to exercise outdoors, do so during cooler times of the day, wear lightweight, moisture-wicking clothing, and use cooling accessories like towels or misting fans. Stay in shaded areas when possible and listen to your body’s cues, such as excessive sweating, rapid heartbeat or palpitations, and dizziness, to avoid overheating.

By incorporating these tips into your summer exercise routine, you can continue to stay active, promote overall well-being, and optimize your cancer treatment journey. Contact Tampa Bay Radiation Oncology today for more information about cancer-fighting support.