Is It OK to Exercise During Chemotherapy?

is it ok to exercise during chemotherapy

Even though you might not feel like working out while receiving chemotherapy, it's a great habit to keep up. While receiving chemotherapy, exercising may improve your physical and mental well-being.

Chemotherapy is typically an exhausting event for the patient. You may experience weakness, nausea, or exhaustion as a result of the chemo medications and your body's battle against cancer. Then, you might be concerned about your ability to exercise during this taxing period.

Experts say that most patients would benefit from exercising while receiving chemotherapy. Persistent exercise can start a positive feedback loop that leads to increased energy, a happier mood, and deeper, more restful sleep. Discover the benefits of starting a mild fitness regimen and how to maintain it while receiving chemotherapy.

Can exercise help people during chemotherapy?

Getting up and exercising is one of the finest things you can do for your health, even though it may seem paradoxical while you're feeling exhausted from chemotherapy.

Family physician and cancer survivor Chris Scuderi, DO, stated, "It is generally very beneficial to continue with some form of movement, even if it needs to be reduced in intensity." "Remaining active during therapy is beneficial to your general health and mental state.”

Naturally, it's essential to consult your doctor before starting an exercise regimen while receiving chemotherapy. They can give you the all-clear and perhaps suggest some changes to your regular exercise regimen.

Are there benefits to exercising while you are undergoing chemotherapy?

As with any other period of life, exercise can help you cope with the side effects of chemotherapy. A 2022 study published in the American Society of Clinical Oncology found that exercisers following cancer treatment experienced improvements in fatigue, strength, and other outcomes as well as cardiorespiratory fitness.

Scuderi thinks that there are even more advantages to exercising. "Physical activity can alleviate symptoms of depression and improve sleep quality for patients," he stated. "In addition to cancer, exercise can help with other medical conditions you may have, like diabetes or high blood pressure."

What kind of exercise can you do during chemotherapy?

Exercise recommendations vary across patients receiving chemotherapy, so it's critical to consult your physician to determine what kind of exercise is right for you. Scuderi suggests anything easy and mild, like walking or tai chi. "Walking is a good way to stay active without doing anything too intense during chemotherapy and is generally safe for most patients."

Another option is yoga. A small 2022 study discovered that participating in customised yoga treatment improved the quality of life and weight maintenance for breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Tips for continuing to exercise during chemotherapy

When you experience the weariness and other side effects that chemotherapy frequently causes, it's crucial to exercise carefully. Try these suggestions to maintain your physical activity:
  • Increase your degree of physical exercise gradually at first.
  • Spend no less than ten minutes each day exercising.
  • At least two days a week should be dedicated to resistance training exercises.
  • Spend at least two days a week in motion.
  • Instead of making yourself workout in methods you detest, find things you enjoy doing.
  • To improve your mood, consider exercising outdoors.
  • Invite a friend to join you for a workout.

Who should not exercise during chemotherapy?

Not every patient receiving chemotherapy should exercise. According to Scuderi, patients who are having serious adverse effects from their medication may need to take a temporary hiatus from exercising.

Even if you are experiencing fatigue or other discomforts due to side effects, you might still be able to continue with extremely mild workouts. "Very light exercise, like short, slow walks with a friend, may feel more comfortable if you are particularly affected by fatigue during your chemotherapy."

What’s the outlook when you exercise during chemotherapy?

Maintaining an exercise regimen can undoubtedly enhance your experience with chemotherapy. According to some studies, patients who exercise during chemotherapy report fewer side effects and a higher standard of living. Some research even suggests that exercising might enhance the effects of chemotherapy drugs.


If your doctor gives the all-clear, you should be able to resume your exercise regimen while receiving chemotherapy. Go slowly and pay attention to your body; it will tell you how much exercise is appropriate for you.


How soon after chemo can I exercise?

Get back to your routine as soon as you can. Aim to increase aerobic exercise to at least 150 minutes per week when therapy is finished, and incorporate weight training at least twice a week.

Can you go to the gym while going through chemo?

Generally speaking, beginning physical activity during or after therapy is safe. When you are coping with cancer symptoms or treatment side effects, it can be difficult to consider exercising. But increasing your level of activity might help with this.

Is it better to exercise before or after chemo?

before, during and after treatment

Should you rest during chemo?

get plenty of rest.

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