Light Exercise

While on chemo, and under present lockdown, I’m sure we’ve all been told to do light exercise to help with fatigue. Anybody else scratching their very tender scalps and wondering what constitutes ‘light’ exercise?

It’s not as if one can go for a stroll around the block! Does going up and down the stairs 4 or 5 times in a day count? I’m 8 days post my first treatment cycle and although I’m having a moderately better day today, general levels of exhaustion preclude even standing for more than 5 minutes. 

What have others tried? What works? Any recommendations etc?


Fiona x

Hi Fidget

It’s crap isn’t it?? The theory is that you work through your fatigue - and also keep all those breast-surgery exercises going. My theory was that if I could get out of bed to clean my teeth, I was on a roll. We’re all different. Some people can manage a short walk, some might manage the stairs a few times. I have read of a few who’ve been able to go for a run. I felt like a zombie and was lucky if I could feel my limbs some of the time. Once the steroid boost wore off, I managed to get to and from the bathroom when necessary and that was my lot. The last few days of the three-week cycle may have been more bearable but I was never fit to drive. The most exercise I got was walking from car to clinic or ward and back, through the whole treatment but I was told I was ‘one of the unfortunate ones.’ I hope you aren’t.

My advice would be to do what you are able to do, don’t berate yourself for failing and definitely keep a note of the levels of energy/fatigue each day so you can report back. Don’t feel bad that that marathon isn’t going to happen - it’s literally small steps for some unfortunate people. Your blood cells are all over the place and probably unable to help you much right now - but they do recuperate pretty quickly - ready for the next onslaught.

Rereading this, it’s not very encouraging is it? Hopefully you’ll get lots of inspirational ideas but I guess I’m acknowledging that it’s ok not to be active if that’s what your body is telling you it needs. Fresh air is important and a boost of sunshine, so if you can get someone to set up a comfy place for you outside, that’s something. Once the bad days are over, you may well find things change and you can manage those walks or a dance hound the kitchen. Best of luck - go with the flow and listen to your body x

Hi fidget, I was told to carry on as near to normal as possible whilst going through chemo- this was last year so no lockdown. So I did! On the ec I worked through and went away etc, I managed to carry on running though no where near as far, I did walk a lot. 

On the docetaxel, the t part, I would be floored for a week and be unable to work or exercise, the other 2 weeks I managed to work but only to walk and no running. I personally really wanted to exercise for my mental health and cos I didn’t want to put weight on, however I did have a meltdown half way thru which was put down to steroids and I put about a stone on which I’ve just managed to lose.

everybody is different and reacts differently to chemo, Listen to your body and if you feel you can push a little bit, note the little, then try. Whatever is normal for you it could be a start to try and carry on to a degree. On the other hand if you feel it’s as much as you can do to get up and get dressed, that’s fine too. 

I was told after that I was unusual in that I’d finished all the treatment, more unusual that I’d had no problems that I needed to ring and even more that I’d managed to work and excercise! Think it’s because I wasn’t told not too!

 I’m 56 with no other health problems other that my cells go bat **bleep** crazy from time to time, breast being my second cancer after melanoma!

Hi Fiona,

Thought I’d add to this (first time posting). Triple Neg diagnosed end Jan, 4 x fortnightly AC start end March. Due to start 5th weekly Taxol (with Carboplatin every 4 wks) this wk - brutal regime.

When diagnosed i vowed i would know less about BC than before (true to word!) but that i would focus on the things that helped keep me strong throughout and for quicker recovery. Exercise is right up there, alongside diet, hydration, sleep. There will always be a day a week sometimes two where I can’t exercise, and a day a week where i can’t step out the door, but if you can manage it, whatever is manageable for you then I’m sure you’ll benefit. Chemo de-conditions the body, so a walk i used to do and be slightly out of breath I find I’m really out of breath. I exercise because it makes me feel ‘normal’, in control, better about my day, gets me out (I strictly maintain social distancing and go on my own). Exercise helps with the equilibrium.

There are videos online and resistance exercises for cancer patients. They say aim for 150 mins per week. But aim for whatever you feel you can do - Slow and steady etc. If you do 5 mins a day it all adds up, makes it less of an uphill battle after… i dearly hope.

Hope you find something that works for you

Ps. I’m also still working, but all to remain normal (whatever that is anymore) and as a singleton early 40s don’t have the option to give up.

Pps. Finding  the steroids brutal but exercising seems to take the edge off the horrible restless feeling I get when on them.