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Chemotherapy: What To Do While In Treatment

Exercise During Chemotherapy Treatment

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Aim for exercise which would be considered moderately intense exercise. To help determine a moderately intense exercise program, consider the following possibilities:

  • Exercise that allows you to talk, but not sing.
  • Use the Borg Scale of perceived exertion which uses numbers associated with words to describe how you feel during exercise. For information about the Borg Scale, go to offsite link. Type "Borg scale" into the search box.
  • Exercise within a training zone determined by your heart rate. The training zone shows a low end and a higher end. If your heart rate is below the range, increase your exercise intensity. For example, swing your arms, speed up, walk up hill. If your heart rate if above the range, slow down. You can calculate your training zone by using the following formula: 
    • Maximum heart rate = 220 minus your age
    • (Maximum heart rate) less (Resting heart rate) x . 5 + (Resting heart rate) = low end of training zone
    • (Maximum heart rate) less (Resting heart rate) x  .7 +(Resting heart rate) = higher end of training zone

Ideally, try to accumulate 150 minutes of exercise each week. Schedule the time into each day. If it's easier, brak your exercise sessions into three ten minute sessions a day.

To increase the odds that you will find the time and will to exercise, consider the following tips:

  • Think of exercise as an essential part of your treatment and then of your recovery.
  • Ask  for support from the people around you. 
  • Create a reasonable exercise schedule. 
  • Consider exercising with a buddy. 

NOTE: Before starting any exercise program, check with your medical team to determin:

  • Whether there are days when you shouldn't exercise or exercise at a lower intensity.
  • Whether the exercise you are considering is OK.

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