Using exercise to fight cancer


In recent years, there has been a greater focus on the importance of physical activity to enable cancer patients to function normally and to enhance their quality of life.


There is growing evidence that a physically active lifestyle protects against the development of colon cancer, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and prostate cancer. In recent years, a number of observation studies have shown that people who are physically active after being diagnosed with breast cancer or colon cancer have a statistically higher chance of survival compared to those who are physically inactive. According to these studies people who are physically active, at least to the extent proposed by general recommendations almost double their chance of survival.


For cancer patients, physical training has been shown to improve quality of life, fitness, physical ability and reduces fatigue. There are also several studies showing that physical activity can help alleviate the psychological burden on cancer patients while they are undergoing chemotherapy.  Physical activity increases fitness and muscle strength, which relieves fatigue and strengthens physical ability. Physical exercise is also thought to boost patients’ self-confidence and psychological wellbeing. Exercise may reduce tumor growth as well.


Cancer patients should consult their doctor and allied health professional to develop and exercise program to meet their specific needs. Initially, the training should be individually tailored and supervised. It should ideally include both aerobic training and resistance training. Cancer patients who have completed their therapy typically feel tired as well as physically and, in some cases, mentally weak.


Patients benefit from a mixture of moderate and high-intensity aerobic training combined with resistance training. The aerobic physical exercise should start at a low intensity and be gradually stepped up to moderate and finally high intensity, gradually increasing the duration of the training at the same time. The aerobic training should be combined with resistance training, which also starts at a low exertion level and short durations.


At our Southern Plus East Fremantle Health and Wellness Centre, our Exercise Physiologists are fully trained and accredited and will work with you to develop programs that suit your condition.


Whether you are new to exercise or recovering from a chronic disease, our team are here to help. Give us a call today on (08) 6424 7443 or visit us on