Myeloma Cancer And Exercise

Regular physical exercise can improve your health and speed up your recovery after cancer treatment. However, because multiple myeloma affects your bones, you should avoid the types of physical activity that increase your chances of injury. This article outlines some of the issues related to myeloma cancer and exercise.

Effects of Exercise for Cancer Survivors

Making time for regular physical exercise should be one of your top priorities after cancer treatment. Cancer survivors who exercise regularly report the following effects of exercise:

  • Better balance (making you less likely to fall and fracture a bone)
  • Better strength and endurance
  • Fewer feelings of anxiety and depression
  • Fewer infections
  • Greater ability to cope with life’s new challenges
  • Improved mood
  • Less difficulty with insomnia
  • More energy and less fatigue.

The American Cancer Society (2010) recommends that cancer survivors participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise five or more days per week. Exercising for 45 or 60 minutes a day is even better.

Myeloma Cancer and Exercise Issues

Some multiple myeloma survivors are very hesitant to exercise because they’re afraid of falling and breaking a bone. Although you should be cautious when exercising, studies of myeloma cancer and exercise show that regular exercise can improve bone health and strength. Improving muscle strength is also important as it reduces the pressure on your bones.

High-impact exercises, such as jogging, team sports and tennis may not be appropriate for you as these activities pose a high risk of injury. Low-impact activities allow you to enjoy the beneficial effects of exercise with a much lower risk of injury. Consider trying:

  • Gentle weightlifting
  • Range of motion exercises, such as simple stretching exercises
  • Slow movement exercises, such as tai chi or yoga
  • Swimming or water aerobics
  • Walking
  • Working out on low-impact exercise equipment, such as an elliptical trainer or stationary bicycle.

No matter how low-impact an activity may be, consult your doctor or physiotherapist before you begin any new exercise regimen to ensure its safety. Your therapist or doctor may recommend some alterations to your proposed exercise routine to make it safer for you. For example, if you’re at a high risk of infection, you may be wise to avoid public gyms until your white blood cell count is higher.

Sometimes you may not feel like exercising, and you may have days when you need rest more than exercise. Just try to be as active as possible; exercise can help reduce feelings of fatigue, depression and other factors that keep you from exercising in the first place. Talk to your doctor about the degree and duration of exercise you should get.

Resources

American Cancer Society. (2010). Multiple myeloma. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/cid/documents/webcontent/003121-pdf.pdf

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2009). Cancer survivors: Care for your body after treatment. Retrieved October 13, 2010, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cancer-survivor/CA00070

Myeloma Canada. (2010). Wellness: Taking care of yourself. Retrieved October 14, 2010, from http://www.myelomacanada.ca/en/wellness.htm