Riding the Road to Recovery – benefits of exercise during cancer treatment

3 Mins read



I was intrigued when David contacted me about a guest post on the topic of remaining fit during treatment for cancer.  I recently read Ruth Levine’s compelling book, Cancer Warrior, where she described how she started exercising – 60 minutes a day on the elliptical with high resistance! – as she underwent treatment for her Stage IV colon cancer.  She found exercise so beneficial that she started walking, hiking really, in the hallways of the hospital shortly after her extensive surgery to resect her tumors.  My personal trainer, E, is also undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.  She has missed only a few days of our workouts together and she continues to go to the gym for her own workouts.  She feels her overall fitness has helped her physically and psychologically during her treatment.  I agree.

I have listed some relevant scholarly articles at the end of this post to help you learn more and exercise and its benefits during cancer treatment. I am looking forward, dear readers, to hear your thoughts about exercise as an adjunct to  cancer treatment.  Pat

Riding the Road to Recovery 

Guest Post by David Haas,

Awareness Program Advocate, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

David Haas, Awareness Program Advocate, Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

There are people everywhere who must face a reality that includes having cancer. Some have only begun the battle, while others may be further down the road toward recovery. Whether you have just gotten results back from your first biopsy, or finished your final treatment for cancer, the need to stay positive remains.

But having a positive attitude is often easier said than done when facing something like cancer. For this reason it is important to do things that will help you feel better and also have more energy. Participating in regular exercise is just the kind of thing that will help you maintain that positive attitude needed to carry you through the difficult days.

A lot of people forget about the need to exercise even when cancer strikes. Instead, they often sit around watching television and feeling sorry for themselves. This is the exact opposite approach from the one you should be taking. Exercise releases endorphins which will provide you with a natural “high” to help you keep a positive outlook as well as fight depression.

Why positivity is important

No person has control over whether or not they have to deal with a cancer diagnosis; but they do have control over how they respond to the diagnosis. Exercising regularly and having an upbeat attitude is a way to take back some of the control which has been lost.

So, if you are the person who ends up needing to schedule an appointment for mesothelioma treatment, instead of spending your time worrying about what you can’t change, do something different. Go for a brisk walk outdoors and connect with nature; throw your bike in the car and head to your favorite park for a ride. As long as you are doing your part to keep your body and mind strong, what more can you ask of yourself?

Do what you can

When a diagnosed with cancer, your doctors will come together and determine, with you, what is the best course of treatment they have to offer you. Conversely, it is your responsibility to do what you can, on your own, to support the treatment you are receiving – this is where regular exercise comes in.

No one is going to care more about your health than you are. Since there is no guaranteed cure for any type of cancer, do what you can to increase your odds of winning your battle with the disease. Being physically active through exercising is how you show yourself to be an active participant in your own healing.

Let’s be honest, dealing with cancer is no easy task. There are, however, ways to make coping with cancer at least a little bit easier. Remaining active is an excellent way to help the body remain strong during treatment; and the release of endorphins in your bloodstream will help your mind to stay strong and focused on the positive.

If you would like to know more about the benefits of exercise when battling cancer, take a look at the link below.


Joining the organization in 2011, David Haas is a cancer support group and awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In addition to researching the many valuable programs available to the site’s visitors, David often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer, while creating relationships with similar organizations.

Read more:


Further reading: 

Lakoski SGEves NDDouglas PSJones LW. Exercise rehabilitation in patients with cancer.  Nat Rev Clin Oncol 2012 Mar 6

Hoffman MDHoffman DR. Exercisers achieve greater acute exercise-induced mood enhancement than nonexercisers. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2008 Feb;89(2):358-63.

Cho MHDodd MJCooper BAMiaskowski C.  Comparisons of Exercise Dose and Symptom Severity Between Exercisers and Nonexercisers in Women During and After Cancer Treatment. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2012 Mar 19









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