The American College of Sports Medicine and American Cancer Society exercise recommendations for people with cancer are basically the same as those for non cancer patients, with special considerations given to:

  • The type of cancer and surgery you have
  • Where you are at in the treatment process
  • Your current level of fitness

If you have a heart condition or are morbidly obese, you will most likely need additional supervision and exercise modifications. Always speak with your doctor before starting any exercise program.

A well rounded exercise program should include some type of aerobic, flexibility, resistance training and balance exercises.

ACSM & ACS Exercise Guidelines

Type

Frequency

Intensity/Time

Aerobic

4-5 days per week

  • 150 minutes /week of moderately intense exercise. An example workout schedule could be 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.
  • Or 75 minutes/week of vigorously intense exercise.

Flexibility

daily

  • Gently stretch, feeling tension not pain

Resistance Training

2-3 times per week

  • 8-10 different exercises
  • 10-15 repetitions of each exercise, at least 1 set per workout session

Balance

2-3 times per week

  • Start with a few minutes gradually building to 10-20 minutes

Know that your energy levels will fluctuate and it’s okay to take a break, slow down and rest. Just ten minutes of daily activity can give you significant benefits and your endurance and stamina can improve over time.

Tips for Exercising

  1. Include a 5 minute warm up and cool down.
  2. Set short-term and long-term goals.
  3. Start with low resistance exercises, gradually increasing in small increments.
  4. Try short periods of exercise with frequent rest breaks.
  5. Recognize and reward your achievements.
  6. Listen to music or books on tape to help stay motivated.
  7. Listen to your body and rest when you need to. Do not overdo it.
  8. Find activities you enjoy and people to enjoy them with.
  9. Use an exercise log to record your exercise progress.