Studies have shown that physically active cancer survivors have a lower risk of cancer recurrence, reduced risk of secondary cancers, and a decreased risk of developing other chronic diseases compared with those who are inactive. Whenever possible, try to reduce sedentary activities such as sitting, lying down, and partaking in screen-based entertainment such as television and internet. If you are not normally physically active, consider incorporating some physical activity into your routine. Spread throughout the week, it is recommended that adults and children participate in both moderate and vigorous intensity activities.
Moderate Intensity Activities
These activities are similar to the intensity level of a brisk walk and it is recommended that adults participate in these types of activities for at least 2.5 hours a week. Examples include:
- Home activities: vacuuming, yard work, mowing the lawn
- Exercise leisure: walking, dancing, light cycling, skating, horseback riding, canoeing
- Sports: skiing, golfing, volleyball, softball, badminton
Vigorous Intensity Activities
These activities usually require large muscle groups, cause an increased heart and breathing rate, and will produce sweating. Adults should participate in these types of activities for at least 1.5 hours/week. Examples include:
- Home activities: digging, masonry, carpentry
- Exercise leisure: jogging or running, heavy cycling, weight training, swimming, and martial arts
- Sports: soccer, hockey, racquetball, and basketball
Children and teens should participate in moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity for at least 1 hour a day, with vigorous intensity activity on at least 3 of the 7 days of the week.
Remember to always check with your healthcare team before starting any exercise programs as the type of exercise you are able to participate in will depend on where you are in your lymphoma experience, how long it has been since treatment, your age, and other health factors. It is alright if you are not at the level you feel you should be or if you have not returned to your previous fitness level. This is all normal. The first step is to start and be patient.
Also, knowing that exercise is important to your health does not necessarily mean that you will be motivated to start right away. If you were not very physically active before your cancer experience, the thought of starting an exercise routine can seem intimidating.