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Cancer patients should get 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise

lindaprocopio's picture
Posts: 2022
Joined: Oct 2008

Guidelines Call for Cancer Patients to Get Moving
Elsevier Global Medical News. 2010 Jun 9, K Wachter

BALTIMORE (EGMN) - Cancer patients and survivors not only should be getting physical activity, but should aim to meet federal recommendations for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity weekly, according to new guidelines released by the American College of Sports Medicine.

"The first two words of the [U.S.] Department of Health and Human Services' physical activity guidelines for Americans - or all Americans regardless of age - are this: Avoid inactivity. That, indeed, is our primary conclusion for this population during and post treatment," the lead author of the guidelines, said Kathryn Schmitz, Ph.D., at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.

Members of the ACSM roundtable panel concluded that the goals of the federal activity guidelines are safe for cancer survivors and cancer patients on treatment. The federal guidelines call for Americans aged 18-64 years to get 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. Adults also should do resistance training of all major muscle groups performed on 2 or more days each week.

"There are dozens of studies that allow us to conclude that the current federal guidelines for physical activity for Americans are completely appropriate for individuals who are undergoing cancer treatment," Dr. Schmitz said in an interview. The preponderance of evidence shows that it is safe for people who are in treatment to follow the guidelines that the rest of Americans have been given for physical activity, she added.

In particular, cancer patients should walk, as well as do flexibility activities and resistance training. The panel stressed that the benefit to a cancer survivor from physical activity strongly outweighs the small risks that would be associated with exercising if the patient had developed a bony metastases or cardiotoxicity secondary to cancer treatment.

However, exercise recommendations should be tailored to the individual cancer survivor according to exercise tolerance and specific diagnosis. In addition, clinicians and fitness professionals should pay close attention to cancer survivors' responses to physical activity so that these individuals can safely progress through exercise programs and avoid injuries.

The primary objective of prescribing exercise to cancer patients and survivors is to help them regain and improve physical function, said Dr. Schmitz of the center for clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Exercise can also help improve body image and quality of life for these patients.

There may even be value in exercise programs to reduce or delay recurrence or a second primary cancer, she said. "We're not foolish enough to believe that exercise all by itself is a panacea to prevent a second primary cancer or recurrence." However, there is value in this population's using exercise as an adjunctive treatment or activity. Exercise may help patients to be physically and psychologically able to deal with the rigors of treatment, should their cancer recur, Dr. Schmitz concluded.

The guidelines are scheduled to be published in the July issue of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, which is the official journal of the ACSM. Dr. Schmitz reported that she has no relevant financial relationships

haifaruth's picture
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2010

hello- i am new here, and just browsing. i have not yet been diagnosed, but am awaiting the outcome of the pilpelle biopsy- which i had for sudden post-menopausal bleeding. i am 64 generally healthy, somewhat overweight, but spend an hour exercising every day. i swim one and a half kilometer, which is nearly one mile, and i walk in the water after that - also about one kilometer. i do this five days a week and have the muscles to prove it. i like to think that swimming is good also if i wind up having uterine cancer.
i am strangely unaffected by this sudden change in my life, but wonder if that is simple denial.
for now, i have decided not to tell my children, and have discussed my health issues only with some good friends and one of my sisters. i hope this forum will give me good input.

hopeful girl 1
Posts: 454
Joined: May 2010

Wish you well with your test results.
These boards are very supportive and helpful.
Keep us posted!

haifaruth's picture
Posts: 2
Joined: Jun 2010

shalom hopeful girl
i am hopeful too. or rather, i am certainly not hopeless. my life is good, and i am generally a happy person.
the funny thing is that since the biopsy i am feeling much worse, my stomach cramps, as though i might be getting my period, and the bleeding is also much worse. i am not sure that is the result of the biopsy itself- as it is invasive- or whether there is something more here. i will leave it in G-d's hands.
thank you for the encouragement, though

jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010


You'll find this group wonderful support and guidance. I look forward to logging on for my daily updates and great information.

Life has no clear path no matter how much we try. I was the person who ate well and did lots of exercise (big runner), but well then I got the uterine cancer. Kills me to watch the people around me eating so much fast food, smoking and drinking lots of alcohol....they haven't shown signs of any disease...at least that I can see.

We just have to deal what God threw in our laps and run with it. I've learned to enjoy each day better and know this is just a new path in my life and must make the best of it.

Keep us posted on your pathology....we're here for you.


susie1143's picture
Posts: 109
Joined: Aug 2009

Thanks for the information. I've been doing a lot of swimming and I feel better since I started my routine. Nice to know that exercise may help reduce a recurrence.


Posts: 99
Joined: Feb 2010

I am seeing an oncological exercise counselor at the cancer hospital I go to. She has been doing this for 20-25 years and she said there are a lot of studies out there saying how important exercise is during and after treatment; she's seen the benefits of it first-hand in her patients. Sometimes I am too wiped out to do anything but if I can manage a little walk, a few minutes on my stationary bicycle, and/or stretching it makes a big difference. I like to think of exercise as medicine because according to all of these studies it is.

jazzy1's picture
Posts: 1385
Joined: Mar 2010

I've been a big exercise person since my teen years. Luckily it's part of my life and even during treatments I was doing something. Might have been very low key, but feel so much better and know it's best to move.

The research is out there on the huge benefits of exercise with cancer. We just need to work with our bodies and not push so we're wiped out, then our immune systems are low and more susceptible to our disease recurring....

As my chiropractor says --


Posts: 296
Joined: Nov 2008

I have a 8 month old granddaughter and kept telling her Mom that we needed to get a baby pool for her. I kept looking at the baby pools and thinking, "now how is Grandma going to get in this". And now that my 4 and 2 year old grandsons are going to come visit it made me think even more, "now how is Grandma going to get in this pool with all of them".

Well, I was at BJ's Warehouse and saw a pool... 15' x 42" for $200 and thought, now there is a baby pool!!!! We put it up two weeks ago and I have been in it everyday. Ahhhhh, it has been wonderful relieving my hot flashes and calming my arthritis. I now go in and do exercises in it about 30 minutes a day, told my husband I feel like a kid again. My granddaughter loves it and I can't wait until my grandsons get here so I can play with them in the pool.

I asked my husband, "do you think I can deduct this off my taxes for medical expenses"... hahahaha, be nice though.

Happy exercising everyone!




Ro10's picture
Posts: 1579
Joined: Jan 2009

Sounds like a great plan. If you have been having the heat we have here in Illinois the pool would feel great. Glad you have found a fun way to exercise. I think it sounds like a medical expense to me, since it is helping with your hot flashes and arthritis. Continue to enjoy those grandkids. Your granddaughter is just beautiful. In peace and caring.

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