Physical Activity

You are recommended to stay physically active during your cancer treatment. You need, however, to moderate your effort and rest whenever movement triggers pain or difficulty breathing.

Keeping up regular physical exercise during your illness allows to you retain to the maximum your physical capacity, muscle mass and, above all, your day-to-day independence. Exercise has a positive effect on your quality of life, making you feel less tired, improving your appetite, keeping your weight steady, reducing the side effects of the treatment or allowing you to sleep better.

During your illness, regular moderate exercise is advisable. It can be stepped up during rehabilitation once your treatment is over. Check with your doctor about any possible activities that are not recommended.

Some advice

For "couch potatoes"

  • Choose or continue activities you enjoy and adjust them to how you feel at a given moment.
  • Limit yourself to a reasonable level of effort: you should have enough breath to talk normally while exercising. If you can’t, the exercise is too difficult. You should stop and resume it less intensively.
  • Begin any effort with a two- or three-minute warm-up.
  • Start gently with 10-minute exercise periods. Increase the frequency and then the length of your exercises if you feel well the day after.
  • Choose walking, electric biking or gentle gymnastics, which can all be easily adapted.
  • Practise stretching after an effort and take a brief rest.
  • The secret of staying in form is the regularity with which you do these things.

For sportsmen

  • If you are already used to exercising, keep up whatever activity suits your abilities and your present situation. Pay attention to the signs described above.

ALSO AVAILABLE
The Ligue genevoise contre le cancer organizes groups for gentle gymnastics and walking.

An exercise programme

Recommended minimum physical activity is 10-minutes endurance* test each day and twice 10 minutes of strengthening* each week, or a total of 90 minutes per week.
To start on a programme of regular physical exercise and to encourage you to persevere, write your goals for the week in the form of a table:

Day Endurance* Strengthening
Monday ............mins ............mins
Tuesday ............mins ............mins
Wednesday ............mins ............mins
Thursday ............mins ............mins
Friday ............mins ............mins
Saturday ............mins ............mins
Sunday ............mins ............mins
Week ............mins ............mins

*Endurance: any activity that doesn’t raise your pulse above 100 per minute. You should be able to talk while exercising. pendence. Gentle sport: walking, yoga, Pilates, e-biking. Medium sport: swimming, rapid walking, hiking, cycling.
*Strengthening: strength exercises with weights or elastics or simply using the weight of your body: climbing stairs, squatting, bending. These exercises are performed in series of five (to begin with). Take a break of at least a minute between series.

You will be able to see progress in the first weeks if you exercise regularly.

+ALSO AVAILABLE
Our physiotherapists will help you to assess your physical level and design a personalized exercise programme.  Ask your care team to bring them on board.

+ N.B.
Ligue Suisse contre le cancer brochure
Activité physique et cancer [Physical activity and cancer]

Download the sheet Physical activity

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Last update : 08/02/2019