Being physically active can reduce the side effects associated with cancer treatment and reduce your risk of having a recurrence. Exercising regularly can also minimize your risk of developing late complications.

Maintaining a healthy weight plays an integral part in your health, as many of the common cancers are associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Once you are ready to begin an exercise program, talk to your physician about what is safe for you. Knowing what treatments you will receive and their potential side effects are important in developing your exercise plan. When in doubt, reach out to your cancer care team. We are here to support you.

Before and during treatment

  • Avoid inactivity. Everyone’s reaction to treatment is different. There are some days when you feel better than others. Base your intensity on how you feel. If you can, take small walks and perform light stretches. Don’t overexert yourself, but try to be active whenever possible.
  • If you haven’t exercised in a while or are experiencing fatigue, you may start with setting smaller goals and gradually increasing how long and how often you do the activity.
  • Be active during the time of day that you have the most energy and balance between periods of activity and rest.
  • Exercise is not recommended if you are anemic.
  • If you have a low white blood cell count or are on immunosuppressive therapy, avoid exercising in public gyms. Do not exercise if you have an active infection.
  • If you have a port or PICC line, you should avoid swimming, as this places you at a higher risk of infections. Do not perform strength-training exercises involving the muscles around the port, as this may dislodge it. Under these circumstances, it is best to work closely with your physical therapist or exercise physiologist.
  • If you are currently receiving radiation therapy, avoid using pools. The chlorine can irritate your skin.

After treatment

  • Start by asking questions about the treatments you received and how they may impact your exercise program.
  • Then set a few goals. For example: Would you like to improve your strength or balance? Or maybe you want to start swimming again.
  • Decide on an activity that you enjoy and set realistic expectations. For example: If you enjoying walking outdoors, set a goal to walk three days a week for 20 minutes a day.
  • Remember that it all adds up. If you are pressed for time or want to gradually build your endurance, break up exercise throughout the day. For example: Perform three 10-minute walks instead of one 30-minute walk.
  • Take advantage of the programs and classes offered through Miami Cancer Institute. We are here to guide you.
Although the precise biological mechanism by which physical activity mitigates cancer risk remains unclear, its impact is compelling and should empower all of us to take an active role in promoting our health and wellness.
Beatriz Currier, M.D. Director, Cancer Patient Support Center and Chief, Psychiatric Oncology

Miami Cancer Institute’s team of physiologists work with your physician team to develop an exercise plan that’s right for you. We offer a number of different exercise classes. 

Brain Fitness Lab

Brain Fitness Lab

The goal of the Brain Fitness Lab at Miami Cancer Institute is to restore and prevent chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairment in cancer patients. Cognitive remediation training has a demonstrated benefit in restoring cognitive function in cancer survivors. The Cancer Patient Support Center developed the Brain Fitness Lab to provide customized cognitive remediation training with computerized brain-training protocols and neuropsychological interventions to restore and enhance cancer survivors’ cognitive and functional outcomes.

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