How can I motivate someone who has cancer to exercise?

Exercise can have a positive effect on everyone’s quality of life, including someone who has cancer. It doesn’t matter what the cancer prognosis may be. If the person is able to exercise, you should encourage it. Doing so can boost the immune system and increase the person’s ability to fight disease. It also improves physical strength and the ability to remain functional for as long as possible.

To motivate someone who has cancer to exercise, the important aspect is to incorporate normal activities and exercise into the things in the person's daily routine, such as walking, gardening, shopping and things like that. The important aspect isn’t “Hey, you should go to the gym and work out for 30 minutes or 40 minutes.”

Motivation for someone who has cancer to exercise generally tends to come from the family. Sometimes, it actually is a point of some stress between the person and the caregiver because it is very difficult for someone who is undergoing treatment to physically feel like exercising in any manner. It’s the most that someone can expect to feel up to doing when they’re in the midst of active therapy. You don't need to push a strenuous exercise program in the midst of active treatment. After they’re done, it's a time of recovery and they should consider doing more physical activity than they would do during treatment.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site. In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified health care provider.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.