During the COVID-19 pandemic we are all making changes to our daily lives, and that includes our exercise routines.
Spending more time at home could mean we're doing less incidental exercise, so it's important that we take steps to keep moving during this challenging time.
Exercise is not only good for our physical health but it's also incredibly important for mental health too.
People with cancer should be as physically active as their ability and condition allows.
However it's important to note that more is better than some, and anything is better than nothing when it comes to exercise during this time. Therefore, regular short walks around your house/backyard multiple times per day could be one way to prevent deconditioning.
Research shows that exercise benefits you before, during and after cancer treatment.
Australian Guidelines recommend that you should aim to keep active and break up sitting time as often as you can. It is important to aim to be active on most, if not all days, including:
- Moderate intensity exercise totalling 150 minutes per week, (this could be broken down into 30 minutes 5 times a week) - this may include walking, cycling, jogging, step ups, marching on the spot.
- Strength training 2-3 a week - this may be weights, resistance/theraband or using your own body weight (movements such as a squat and push ups).
These are general exercise recommendations and you may require a specific exercise program based on your current health status.
We recommend you have a medical review prior to starting an exercise program if you have any of the below issues:
- Heart attack in the past 3 months
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath on low exertion
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Uncontrolled blood pressure
- Acute infection
- Implantable defibrillator
- Blood clots in your legs
- Recent falls
- Cancer in your bones
We have created some videos to help guide you through a home exercise program using simple things around the home.
Introduction to exercising at home
Aerobic home exercise program
Upper limb home exercise program
Lower limb home exercise program
Please see below for other resources during this time:
- Smiling Mind app on iPhone and android for short free mindfulness meditations.
- Headspace app on iPhone and android for some free meditations.
- Centre for Clinical Interventions worksheets on relaxation exercises including Calm Breathing, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, and Mindfulness
- Visit Cancer Council Australia to access their brochure on Exercise for people living with cancer
- Visit Cancer Council Australia to access their brochure on Nutrition and Cancer
- Download from the Peter Mac website: Can-Sleep, a self-management guide to helping people with cancer get a better night’s sleep.
- Visit Cancer Council Australia to access their brochure on Fatigue and Cancer
- Visit the Peter Mac Occupational Therapy website for tips and videos
Please email [email protected] with any queries