Exercise provides short- and long-term benefits for people undergoing cancer treatment. Physical therapists can design safe exercise plans to help people remain physically active, and feel better during treatments for cancer.


Exercise during cancer treatment can:

  1. Reduce fatigue

Exercise helps boost energy and endurance during cancer treatment.

  1. Maintain muscle strength

Safe exercise can help keep your muscles strong.

  1. Reduce stress

Exercising during cancer treatment can help ward off anxiety, fear, and depression.

  1. Prevent or reduce lymphedema and swelling

Special physical therapy treatments address lymphedema and swelling.

  1. Reduce pain

Safe and comfortable exercise is proven to be effective in reducing pain.

  1. Prevent and reduce weight gain

Staying physically active can help you maintain a healthy weight.

  1. Reduce brain fog (mild confusion as a result of some treatments for cancer)

Exercise has an immediate and long-lasting effect in reducing brain fog.

  1. Reduce bone density loss

Certain exercises done while standing and moving can stimulate your bones to stay healthy and strong, and can help to avoid fractures.

  1. Improve the survival rate

Research studies have suggested that consistent exercise during cancer treatment may have beneficial effects that improve the outcome of that treatment.

  1. Assist athletes to continue sports training

Athletes undergoing cancer treatment may not have to give up their sport. A physical therapist can help design a special exercise plan that includes an athlete’s chosen sport, a modified version, or aspects of it.


If you are undergoing treatment for cancer and think PT could help you, ask your physician for a referral to physical therapy.  For questions, call North Country Rehabilitation – Physical Therapy 802-334-3260.


Reference: Avruskin.A.,(2019) 10 ways exercise helps during cancer treatment. Choose PT. Retrieved from: https://www.moveforwardpt.com/Resources/Detail/top-10-ways-exercise-helps-during-cancer-treatment


Katesel Strimbeck PT, MS is the Director of Rehabilitation Services at North Country Hospital.  Katesel has been a practicing PT for 21 years.  She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).