Can exercise help people with cancer?

Exercise can be a great addition to many treatment regimens. Scientists are still learning about how physical activity helps cancer patients and what impact it has on the immune system.

Sometimes if you aren’t getting enough activity, it can make you even more sluggish and tired—making it harder to carry on normal activities while undergoing treatment.
Studies have shown that for some cancer patients regular physical activity can accomplish the following:

  • Reduce anxiety or depression
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Improve blood flow to the legs and reduce the risk of blood clots
  • Reduce pain
  • Reduce diarrhea and constipation
  • Prevent osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Increase overall physical functioning
  • Reduce dependence on others for the activities of daily living
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Lift mood