The second way to create energy and get more oxygen to those powerhouses, our mitochondria, is through physical activity or exercise. Research has shown that 30% of cancer-related fatigue can be addressed just simply through exercise. A recent study, that I’m so excited about, found that it doesn’t matter if you do all the exercises together for 30 minutes, or whether you do 3 minute intervals, 10 times a day. Both will get you where you need to go. If you can simply get out of your chair and walk up and down your steps 3 times, the energy that you can create for yourself is going to be fantastic.
The reason I think this finding is so valuable, is that it allows individuals to listen to their bodies, rest when they need to rest for energy conservation, and still do the exercise needed to help them improve their physical fatigue.
Even light exercises when you are having a rough day are beneficial. Remember, don’t try to do too much all at once. In time, strength training will also help to rebuild some of the muscle mass lost during treatment. However, it doesn’t need to be added to your physical activity plan until your exercise tolerance improves a bit.
A healthy diet and drinking plenty of fluids also play a role in improving exercise tolerance, so be sure to focus on eating and drinking water throughout the day too.
If your cancer diagnosis or treatment has left you with secondary health conditions that make it challenging to find safe and appropriate exercises, you might benefit from working with an occupational therapist or a physical therapist. They can offer suggestions for exercises tailored to your needs.