Exercise During Cancer Treatment: Light vs. High Intensity


A recent Cochrane database systematic review of 56 trials encompassing 4,800 subjects found that compared with light exercise, moderate-intensity or vigorous exertion during cancer treatment provides the most benefit in terms of quality of life (physical functioning, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep disturbances). In this Cochrane review, mild exercise was defined as a level of activity that raised the heart rate to 30% to 54% of maximum.

My take: For patients on chemotherapy or radiation therapy, if there are no contraindications to vigorous exercise, more benefits accrue to high-intensity activity. However, even light activity is better than none at all. I’m Dr. Michael Hunter.

Mishra SI, et al. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2012;8:CD008465

The small print: The material presented herein is informational only, and is not designed to provide specific guidance for an individual. Please check with a valued health care provider with any questions or concerns. As for me, I am a Harvard- , Yale- and UPenn-educated radiation oncologist, and I practice in the Seattle, WA (USA) area. I feel genuinely privileged to be able to share with you. If you enjoyed today’s offering, please consider clicking the follow button at the bottom of this page.

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Harvard AB Yale MD UPenn Radiation Oncology Radiation Oncologist, Seattle area

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