Exercise during chemo

Posted by georger @georger, Fri, Feb 1 8:04am

More and more research shows that exercise is vital in cancer treatment….make it a regular routine…I have a background in exercise physiology and cancer and would be happy to help anyone

Hi @georger — Here's a website where you can search for YMCA locations that offer the LiveStrong program that @cancersucks mentioned.

https://www.livestrong.org/ymca-search

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I had a serious chemo routine and during that time, I did some exercises with bands at home. Going to the gym was a no-no as I was immune compromised for probably half of my regime. I had infused chemo, oral chemo and a Biologic. The Chemo treatments lasted for a year. What I did as often as I could was walk outdoors. I am a big advocate of walking outdoors which lifted my spirits 100% of the time. When I was pronounced in remission and discontinued treatment, I have to say I was intimidated to go back to the gym. I was a five day a week gym rat prior to cancer. I hired a trainer that I thought was compassionate, but would push me. Nine month later I was competing in an event called the Sampson Challenge. It’s a ten event competition with things like rowing, sand bag run, tire flipping, swimming, etc. My goal was to only to finish! I worked with my trainer and took a class with others preparing for the competition. Not only did I finish, I came in 2nd in my age group. I worked out with my trainer once a week, and did stuff on my own the rest of the time. Getting strong and feeling good about myself really helped me get back to a “normal” life. During diagnosis and treatment, my world revolved around illness, and to anyone reading this, you know that gets OLD!

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@georger

Haven’t heard from anyone in awhile but if I can help anyone with exercise guidelines during or after treatment….contact me as soon as you can😊

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I still think you should offer informational/educational classes at your local community education center or for any other social groups, so you can introduce your expertise and offer assistance. Have you tried to volunteer at the cancer infusion centers to work with people who are alone and/or show them how to do chair/seated exercises during their treatments?

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@cancersucks

Just finished the live strong program and I am wearing my yellow wrist band . Thank God for that program . For those who don’t know the Ymca has this program for free and it’s 12 weeks , 2 times week

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@cancersucks, meet @travelgirl. She also did the Livestrong exercise program and raves about it. @roch will be taking the 12-week program in the fall.

@cancersucks, does your location also offer follow-up luncheons so you can connect with the people you met during the program?

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@mepowers

I had a serious chemo routine and during that time, I did some exercises with bands at home. Going to the gym was a no-no as I was immune compromised for probably half of my regime. I had infused chemo, oral chemo and a Biologic. The Chemo treatments lasted for a year. What I did as often as I could was walk outdoors. I am a big advocate of walking outdoors which lifted my spirits 100% of the time. When I was pronounced in remission and discontinued treatment, I have to say I was intimidated to go back to the gym. I was a five day a week gym rat prior to cancer. I hired a trainer that I thought was compassionate, but would push me. Nine month later I was competing in an event called the Sampson Challenge. It’s a ten event competition with things like rowing, sand bag run, tire flipping, swimming, etc. My goal was to only to finish! I worked with my trainer and took a class with others preparing for the competition. Not only did I finish, I came in 2nd in my age group. I worked out with my trainer once a week, and did stuff on my own the rest of the time. Getting strong and feeling good about myself really helped me get back to a “normal” life. During diagnosis and treatment, my world revolved around illness, and to anyone reading this, you know that gets OLD!

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@mepowers , you are so right! I am just starting to reintroduce light exercise back into my life. It has been a challenge because a side effect of one of the oral meds is difficulty breathing. That and seasonal allergies has whipped my butt.

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Has anyone got info about problems with water aerobics in pools, re possible infections, chest ports, etc?

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@2onlow8

Has anyone got info about problems with water aerobics in pools, re possible infections, chest ports, etc?

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@2onlow8– Good morning and welcome to Connect. Your question is excellent and opens up an entire group of questions that deal with how much you want to be exposed to the world, what chances are you taking, what chances are you willing to take. When I had chemo back in 2007-2008 (I think) i pretty much isolated myself. My chemo was cisplatin and navelbine. Cisplatin is very very tough stuff and really did me in, especially my stomach. There wasn't such a push to exercise back then as there is now. I finished my chemo in October- actually it was on my birthday, lol. The fatigue that I felt was enormous and it took me a while to get going-
I rarely shopped- I turned that over to my husband and if anyone had a cold I stayed home, even from family events. I do have a tendency to over protect myself but I felt that I was very susceptible to anything that would challenge my immune system. I was afraid of being ill again. Maybe too afraid.
If you don't have a needle in your port you can swim because the skin over it will protect it. But it's always smart to check with your doctor. I think that if there is no medical reason to avoid a pool and you are feeling extremely healthy than the thing to do would be to check with the Y manager and find out how clean the pool is. I haven't heard of any infections in any Y. They get many cancer people, all wanting to get healthy.
Are you exercising yet? How long ago were your treatments?

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@merpreb

@2onlow8– Good morning and welcome to Connect. Your question is excellent and opens up an entire group of questions that deal with how much you want to be exposed to the world, what chances are you taking, what chances are you willing to take. When I had chemo back in 2007-2008 (I think) i pretty much isolated myself. My chemo was cisplatin and navelbine. Cisplatin is very very tough stuff and really did me in, especially my stomach. There wasn't such a push to exercise back then as there is now. I finished my chemo in October- actually it was on my birthday, lol. The fatigue that I felt was enormous and it took me a while to get going-
I rarely shopped- I turned that over to my husband and if anyone had a cold I stayed home, even from family events. I do have a tendency to over protect myself but I felt that I was very susceptible to anything that would challenge my immune system. I was afraid of being ill again. Maybe too afraid.
If you don't have a needle in your port you can swim because the skin over it will protect it. But it's always smart to check with your doctor. I think that if there is no medical reason to avoid a pool and you are feeling extremely healthy than the thing to do would be to check with the Y manager and find out how clean the pool is. I haven't heard of any infections in any Y. They get many cancer people, all wanting to get healthy.
Are you exercising yet? How long ago were your treatments?

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I am currently in treatment with Alimta every 3 weeks. Before that I had treatments with Cisplatin, with simultaneous radiation a year ago, then immunotherapy for 2 months which accelerated the tumor growth and undid the progress made with the Cisplatin, so was switched to Taxotere, that didn’t help and switched to Alimta, having just had my 5th Alimta infusion. Scheduled to continue on Alimta as it’s lowering my CEA number and showing a bit of reduction in tumor sizes per recent PET scan. I have had little exercise and muscles are very weak. I take a dance class once a week and would like to add water aerobics, possibly tai chi to my schedule. As long as I can deal with Alimta side effects of exhaustion and brain fog one week out every 3.

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@2onlow8, Tai chi has multiple benefits. I was taking a class to help my balance. It supports mediation, balance and energy health. Unfortunately, my current work schedule and the Tai Chi class conflict.

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@2onlow8

I am currently in treatment with Alimta every 3 weeks. Before that I had treatments with Cisplatin, with simultaneous radiation a year ago, then immunotherapy for 2 months which accelerated the tumor growth and undid the progress made with the Cisplatin, so was switched to Taxotere, that didn’t help and switched to Alimta, having just had my 5th Alimta infusion. Scheduled to continue on Alimta as it’s lowering my CEA number and showing a bit of reduction in tumor sizes per recent PET scan. I have had little exercise and muscles are very weak. I take a dance class once a week and would like to add water aerobics, possibly tai chi to my schedule. As long as I can deal with Alimta side effects of exhaustion and brain fog one week out every 3.

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@2onlow8– Good morning. I know all about brain fog! Chemo can really do us in at times. I'm glad that you are seeing results! How did you react to ? Cisplatin my stomach was a mess- horrible metal taste. I lost 15 lbs. And I was either taking meds to go or to stop, lol.
You might want to build up your muscles before you take up tai chi. I would think that water exercises would be excellent for you.
Do you have a pool nearby that teaches them?

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chemo brain is a horrible thing but getting up and moving can be a powerful treatment…if you don't have a personal trainer, look into a class

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@merpreb

@2onlow8– Good morning. I know all about brain fog! Chemo can really do us in at times. I'm glad that you are seeing results! How did you react to ? Cisplatin my stomach was a mess- horrible metal taste. I lost 15 lbs. And I was either taking meds to go or to stop, lol.
You might want to build up your muscles before you take up tai chi. I would think that water exercises would be excellent for you.
Do you have a pool nearby that teaches them?

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Cisplatin caused permanent hearing (and temporary hair) loss, neuropathy in both feet and wreaked havoc on my guts. I soon learned how much magnesium and probiotics and fiber to take to ease digestive problems. My sense of taste was temporarily impaired. Radiation fried my throat and I could barely swallow anything, even liquids. I resisted a feeding tube and lost 35 lbs. Although I don’t recommend a ‘radiation diet’ it was 35 lbs I needed to lose. A year later I have gained back 5 and hope to hold steady at this weight. I still can only take very small bites and have to chew thoroughly so I get tired of eating before I can overeat!
I have access to the Ys water aerobics class and will give it a try.

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@2onlow8– I'm amazed that you didn't lose more! My hair thinned but I had a ton of it so I was fine. Is there a vitamin E spray that you you can use, or maybe ask your doctor if you can take it by mouth- It's great for tissue repair. I hear you about dieting- I was happy to lose my weight too but have gained back some since 12 years. I'm glad that you are moving again. Be cautious of getting any chlorine in your mouth as it might be very harsh on your throat. Is the damage permanent?

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@2onlow8

I am currently in treatment with Alimta every 3 weeks. Before that I had treatments with Cisplatin, with simultaneous radiation a year ago, then immunotherapy for 2 months which accelerated the tumor growth and undid the progress made with the Cisplatin, so was switched to Taxotere, that didn’t help and switched to Alimta, having just had my 5th Alimta infusion. Scheduled to continue on Alimta as it’s lowering my CEA number and showing a bit of reduction in tumor sizes per recent PET scan. I have had little exercise and muscles are very weak. I take a dance class once a week and would like to add water aerobics, possibly tai chi to my schedule. As long as I can deal with Alimta side effects of exhaustion and brain fog one week out every 3.

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@2onlow8 You seem like you are really taking care of yourself! I do agree with @merpred on ports and swimming pools. As long as there is no needle in the site or tubing coming out, you should be OK. And no dressing on the site. I asked my neurologist about swimming pools as I get chemo drugs for an autoimmune disease. She said I’m totally fine in clean water, but to stay away from hot tubs, etc.
I really admire your energy and your wanting to take the fitness classes! I,also, took a dance class before this disease messed up my balance. What kind of class do you take?

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What do you think of the YMCA Live Strong program?

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