Physical exercise in cancer

The list of benefits of physical exercise is very long, whether you have chronic illnesses or not. But in addition to physical exercise in cancer helps reduce fatigue and maintain mobility, facilitates rest, tones muscles, strengthens bones, cushions the effects of stress on health and helps improve mood. Therefore, with a medical control and a program adapted to each person, it becomes one more treatment.

The benefits of physical exercise

The list of benefits of physical exercise is very long. We saw it in a previous article. But we can remember the most important ones, which are valid for both people with cancer and people without the disease.

  • At the medical level, exercise helps keep weight off, maintains cardiovascular health, reduces the risk of diseases such as diabetes, increases muscle mass, strengthens bones, and reduces the impact of stress on the body.
  • On a psychological level it facilitates rest, increases self-esteem and reduces the symptoms of anxiety, depression and stress.
  • At a social level it strengthens relationships with others, contributes to increase confidence and teaches cooperative work and conflict resolution.

With a gray background is William Roberts’ definition of physical activity. We explain his lesser-known concepts: positive inotropic means it makes the heart beat harder (brings more blood and oxygen to the body). Cronotropic negative is that it lowers the heart rate. Vasodilator means it opens blood vessels.

Diuretic is that it facilitates the elimination of liquids through the urine. Anorectic is that it removes hunger (only with especially intense exercise and for a long time). Cathartic is that it has a slight laxative function. Hypoglycemic is that it reduces the level of sugar in the blood.

Physical exercise in cancer maintains all these benefits and adds others. They are important as they help the body adapt to the treatment and its side effects. Keep in mind that the treatment is usually long and, therefore, the option “I let a few days go by and then everything will return to normal” is not valid. You can go back to normal after cancer, but it will take some time to get there.

A very important benefit of physical exercise in cancer is the reduction of fatigue. Although it may seem contradictory to have a more or less regular programme of physical exercise with certain objectives, it increases the general physical energy.

And this happens because the heart pumps more efficiently and the blood circulates better. Therefore, the body does not have to make as much effort to maintain oxygen and nutrient levels.

Exercise in cancer is also useful in curbing mobility problems. Sometimes treatment can deteriorate joints, or surgery for breast cancer can affect the mobility of the arm of the band that has been intervened. Moving the limbs as far as possible helps maintain, at least partially, mobility.

Psychologically the advantages are also noticeable: Given the change in self-image and self-concept, physical exercise in cancer helps to improve self-esteem. It demonstrates to ourselves that we can continue to maintain an active life.

We also notice it in the mood: physical activity causes the release of endorphins, which make us feel better. Even in moments of feeling down, a minimum exercise such as getting up and walking around the house will help us to increase our well-being.

Socially, physical exercise in cancer is a way to break the isolation. It gives us the opportunity to share some time with other people. While we do a healthy activity for everyone, we talk about what worries us or distract ourselves from daily problems.

The consequences of sedentary life in cancer patients

The benefits of physical exercise in cancer can be read as losses when we do not do this activity. As we reduce movement the muscles deteriorate, so any movement we make with the muscles involved will cost us even more.

Also the heart will have to make more effort to get the blood to all the cells and this will force it to increase the rhythm. Therefore fatigue will also become more noticeable. We will soon get tired even when we do light activities.

If we are undergoing chemotherapy, we need the cardiovascular system to function in the best possible way, because the medicine must reach the whole body without requiring extra effort. Also, a good general condition will compensate for the side effects of this treatment.

But the effects of sedentary life will also be felt psychologically. The ground that we yield to disease in terms of reduced activity will be taken over by disease. This means that if we enter a cycle of inactivity it will be more and more difficult to reactivate ourselves. Mobility will be reduced and, for some basic activities of daily life, we will begin to depend on others.

How to Exercise When You Have Cancer

When starting to exercise in cancer the most important thing is to have previously spoken with the doctor. For several reasons:

  • It is who knows best the limitations of physical activity depending on the disease and treatment. For example, with lung cancer or cancer of the musculoskeletal system, exercise should be quite moderate.
  • You can recommend waiting, starting immediately, or doing it with more or less intensity.
  • You can suggest a specific programme (e.g. 30 minutes of walking, 6 days a week) and a specific type of exercise, such as swimming, Nordic Walking, etc.

From there, it’s all about starting. You don’t have to start at 100%: you can do it progressively. In physical activity, a little is better than nothing. So if the first day instead of walking 30 minutes we walk 10, we have already done activity and we will notice its benefits.

There are patients who have asked me if it is better to do it outside in the street or in an enclosed place. It depends on the type of exercise recommended by the doctor and the preferences of each one. But in times of extreme temperatures, such as in summer and winter, it is more comfortable to do it in an enclosed space. In addition, in a gym there are usually qualified personnel who will help us if there is any problem.

An example of outdoor activity is the one carried out by Althaia in Manresa: Nordic walking groups for patients who are following treatment for cancer.

Get going! Hiking Tips

In Spain there are more than 60,000 kilometres of approved paths, some more intense than others, through which we can enjoy nature while doing sport. For hiking it is advisable to follow some basic tips, such as knowing the signs, wearing appropriate clothing and footwear and providing our backpack with the basic elements.

Start hiking following these recommendations


When choosing a route we must take into account our physical condition, choosing the routes with little unevenness and short distance at first and then go choosing trails with more difficulty.

Thus, depending on the colour of the signs, we can know whether it is a long-distance, short or a local route.

  • Gran Recorrido (GR) trails are those trails that have more than 50 kilometres of route and are carried out in stages. The reference colour for this type of trails is red.
  • The Small Route (PR) trails, marked in yellow, can be between 10 and 50 kilometers long, and can be done in one or two days depending on the distance and level of difficulty.
  • The local trails (SL) are those whose travel is less than 10 kilometers and the difficulty is minimal, so they are suitable for children, elderly and people with physical difficulties. Their reference color is green.

However, not all trails are homologated and, therefore, the signage may be different.

Before starting the route

Before starting the activity, it is advisable to be well informed about the length of the path, the slope and the shelters nearby, as well as review the weather forecasts and review our team well not to forget anything essential.

It is also important that we inform a relative or somewhere about our itinerary in case it were necessary to locate us.


The clothes we wear must always be breathable and suitable for each climate. It is best to use the new materials that protect against the cold while perspiring and that, due to their lightness, provide greater freedom of movement.

Even if it’s hot, it doesn’t hurt to carry some warm clothes in your backpack, as well as a raincoat. Socks should be made of wool, so that they do not retain moisture, and without drawings, to avoid rubbing. If it is necessary to protect ourselves from the cold, we will use a hat, gloves, panties and polar clothes.

As far as footwear is concerned, it is ideal to wear lightweight, waterproof mountain boots that perfectly support the ankle and have a flexible, patterned sole. To avoid blisters, we must tie them tightly so that the foot does not dance inside the boot. It is also important to trim the nails well and not to wear the boots for the first time that same day.

Sports insurance

If you are going to move away from your place of residence to practise hiking or some other adventure sport, it is advisable to also equip yourself with a sports and travel insurance such as Totalsports which, in addition to guaranteeing you medical expenses or incidences of the trip related to the cancellation, luggage or transport, covers you against setbacks related to activities in nature.

Apart from accidents, Totalsports has guarantees such as search and rescue, diagnostic tests and rehabilitation treatments or the payment of prostheses or crutches, among others.


When hiking, you have to dispense with non-essential elements, such as extra jars and clothes, as these will unnecessarily increase the weight of your load. Ideally, the objects we carry should be made of lightweight materials. Although it depends on the complexion of each person, the maximum weight of the hiker’s rucksack should be around 6 kilos.

However, we should not forget to always carry a map, a GPS or mobile phone, a headlamp, an elementary first aid kit (plasters, gauze, painkillers…), a raincoat if there is provision for rain, cream and sunglasses, and a pair of plastic bags for waste and food.

Wearing the right equipment will make our journey easier. A rucksack of a maximum of 30 litres equipped with a lumbar belt will help us to unload weight from the shoulders. To make it more comfortable, we must place the heaviest thing near the back and the clothes in the bottom, fitting the things like a puzzle so that they move less.

In this link you will find the essential elements to carry in your backpack to practice trekking.

On the road

Make sure that your pace is constant and regular, without changes of pace, always paying attention to the signage and taking care of nature respectfully. As you walk, breathe through your nose so that the air enters your body with the right temperature and humidity.

When resting, warm up well and hydrate yourself with water or an isotonic drink (carbonated drinks delay its absorption). To replace the amount of glucose and the loss of electrolytes, eat something that contains sugar, such as nuts, chocolate or sweets.

On climbs, take a short step, and on descents, control well where you put your foot. In many occasions the telescopic poles can help us to lower or to raise slopes, reducing in addition in up to 20% the load of the legs.

And after the route

You always have to rehydrate, bring salt, sugar and liquids to your body, and make a balanced meal; take care of your feet by healing and hydrating them; and, of course, have a good rest!

5 Benefits of Running

Running is one of the most effective activities for health, it allows us to move quickly. We have been made a sport easy to practice and very effective to maintain a healthy state, also helps us conserve a lot of energy during the day and psychological benefits.

If you have decided to give up sedentary running is one of the options to keep your body slim, requires no expense, you can do it outdoors, you just need a comfortable sneaker and set aside 30 minutes to do this activity. Running brings us certain health advantages to help us stay in shape and is one of the most recommended activities to burn fat.

Running is considered a simple practice, which is why here we leave you the great benefits that this exercise provides. Many scientific studies have revealed some aesthetic benefits which you were not aware of and here we provide it.

Easy to practice

Running is a very easy sport to practice as you don’t need to spend money just on a pair of sneakers and a light pair of trousers. To practice it we can do it in the streets or parks near our residences.

To run you don’t have to have special skills or fixed schedules, that will depend on you. Just 30 minutes will be enough. In addition you will not have to cover a predetermined distance you choose the route you want to do.

You can do them individually or in groups, you choose according to the motivation the staff you have. Running allows you to relax and disconnect from the outside world, allows you to challenge yourself by increasing the level of aerobic intensity.

Running benefits your health

This exercise prevents the risk of diseases such as obesity, lung cancer, diabetes, hearing diseases, strokes and migraine. Scientific studies have shown that people who engage in this type of exercise are less likely to suffer from these diseases.

Running stimulates the production of endorphins substance that helps improve mood stress by avoiding depressive illnesses. Running outdoors allows you to breathe through your nose causing your lungs to expand and take in more oxygen.

On the other hand, researchers from the University of Missouri showed that running helps to strengthen the bones by performing high impact exercises. We accumulate calcium and mineral density avoiding osteoporosis.

In addition, scientists have shown that running increases our immune system, in a study found that 61% of runners had fewer colds once they started the routine of running, compared with sports such as cycling and swimming that prove the opposite.

Helps to reduce measures

One of the main benefits of doing this physical activity is that you will burn twice as many calories as walking. Running along with a healthy diet, allows the body to burn more effectively fats, improving blood circulation.

When doing this type of exercise increases the anaerobic capacity, so when you do it for hours in the morning you would be accelerating the metabolism by helping to reduce fat tissue and tone muscles.

If you want to lose those extra pounds, running is the perfect exercise, has no costs, it would be considered the most economical weight loss plan. This is accompanied by a healthy and balanced diet, along with a routine appropriate to your schedule.

Improves brain and cardiovascular activity.

The University of South Carolina conducted a study through which it was able to demonstrate that running increases the amount of mitochondria, which are cells responsible for providing the energy needed for better cell functioning. As a consequence, these cells emit waves to the brain that help reduce fatigue and avoid the risk of suffering brain diseases.

Another study by the University of Gothenburg in Sweden showed that people who performed this type of activity inter daily for 40 minutes, reduced headaches, thus demonstrating that exercise not only relieves stress but also muscle tension.

This type of exercise promotes oxygenation and strengthens the heart, thus avoiding the risk of a heart attack. A study showed that in one population, people who have a habit of running, reduced by 42% the risk of suffering cardiovascular disease. In fact, it has been shown that the greater the intensity of the training, the more cardiovascular benefits can be obtained.

Improve your personal image

Running allows oxygenation of the skin, allowing it to look more radiant making it smooth and soft, thanks to the release of toxins. Doing this kind of exercise, strengthens your buttocks because you use this muscle for the execution of movement. When you run you tone your legs losing fat making them look slim and without cellulite.

Another advantage of running is that you can avoid varicose veins as this exercise promotes good blood circulation. Prevents epidermal affections and reduces acne because it causes the production of sweat in the body, opening the pores of the skin and thus eliminating toxins. On the other hand it reduces swelling as this activity prevents fluid retention.

We know that training gives us great health benefits, but in addition to them helps us to develop our muscles and lose weight, but doing it regularly will bring us aesthetic. So cheer up, what are you waiting for? Don’t let the routine catch you, file the lazy ones, grab your slippers and go running two or three times a week and you’ll get many health benefits.

Physical exercise during postpartum recovery

The first six weeks after giving birth is when the body undergoes the most dramatic changes because it begins to readjust back to its pre-pregnancy state. In this article we explore all the aspects to keep in mind so that future or new mothers can have an ideal postpartum recovery and return to their exercise routine without danger.

The postpartum recovery process begins immediately after childbirth when the uterus begins to contract repeatedly. Loquios (which contains blood, mucus, and placental tissue) also begins to deflate and discharge little by little for about four to six weeks.

The pelvic floor also begins to gradually regain its strength during this period. Breast size also increases and they feel much heavier as the milk accumulates due to increased hormone levels which, in turn, increase the blood supply to the milk production area.

In addition to this, you may also experience back pain, postpartum depression, anaemia and urinary disorders, as well as physical fatigue due to the demands of motherhood or lack of sleep caused by the new family member.

Returning to exercise after childbirth

A gradual recovery is essential for a smooth transition to motherhood, with the goal set on achieving maximum well-being rather than on increasing aerobic fitness fitness or losing weight.

In fact, muscles stretched during pregnancy may require up to nine months more to return to their original shape and be completely renewed and with a certain degree of functional strength. In addition, it should not be forgotten that breastfeeding requires adequate rest and a good diet, so that goals should never go short term towards aesthetics.

However, the benefits of long-term postnatal exercise will be very important for these aspects, to the point that all postnatal mothers should be aware of the advantages and establish a regular exercise routine of some kind as soon as they feel prepared both physically and mentally.

Some of these benefits are:

  • Faster healing and energy recovery to cope with the demands of motherhood
  • Reduction of stress and depression (postpartum sadness) through a greater sense of well-being
  • Return to pre-pregnancy shape and strength levels in a shorter time.
  • Weight loss and reduction of body fat.
  • Increased strength and endurance.
  • Improved posture and flexibility.
  • Stop osteoporosis and increase bone density.
  • Strengthening of the abdomen and pelvic floor muscles.
  • Develop a new social circle of friends and healthy, sporting people who will benefit you and your baby.
  • Reinforce self-esteem and the idea that you are a healthy woman.
  • Improve self-confidence.

Cases not recommended for postpartum exercise

It should be borne in mind that there are several cases in which returning to exercise after childbirth is not recommended. For example, when the levels of fatigue or exhaustion are high, when the perineum remains unhealed, in the case of persistent vaginal bleeding, if you have anemia, or if you have developed mastitis, ie inflammation and infection of the sinuses.

There are a number of considerations that must be addressed when determining the right time to return to a regular exercise routine. Whether or not you are a first-time mother, being ready for exercise will depend on several individual factors, which should be determined in conjunction with the gynecologist or obstetrician.

Many mothers are advised to wait until six weeks before starting an exercise program and getting approval from their midwife. However, some mothers, especially those who have exercised regularly before and during their pregnancy, may be allowed to exercise again 1 to 2 weeks after the baby’s arrival.

The type of delivery can affect the return to the exercise routine.

The type of delivery, either by vaginal section or by cesarean section, will affect the rate of recovery. A mother who gives birth through a cesarean section will be recommended to have much more supervision before she is allowed to return to any form of exercise.

In most of these cases, any type of exercise should be avoided at all during the first three days, as well as no heavy lifting movements during the first six weeks. Your doctor may suggest several exercises to help your recovery and reduce the risk of blood clots, which can be done during this period.

On the other hand, in a vaginal delivery in which an episiotomy is performed, it may be necessary to put some stitches so that the wound can be sutured and avoid small losses. These stitches may be uncomfortable and painful even while the wound is healing and may interfere with the baby’s care.

Although certain pain medications are available, it is important to take short walks and have frequent breaks to help the recovery process. On the other hand, starting pelvic floor strengthening exercises 24 hours after childbirth can help reduce discomfort and pain.

However, before returning to exercise, you should make sure that the stitches are largely or fully healed and that you are not experiencing any significant pain.

Physical exercise, Good idea to lose weight

Is it a good idea to exercise to lose weight? In principle, the answer should be yes, without a doubt. But not just any physical exercise and any form of exercise will do. In our Blog we talk about physical exercise on top of a bicycle.

It’s the sport we master and we’re most interested in it. That’s why we talk about food and the energy needed to ride a bike. We have also talked to you about fasting training, nutrition and cycling issues that are necessary when we consider training. Today we talk about losing that with the sport of cycling.

Losing weight with physical exercise

Physical exercise combined with a balanced and specific diet is perhaps the best way to lose weight. Our body creates energy from different substances. Glucose, amino acids, proteins, and fats. How much of each of them is consumed with exercise depends mainly on three issues:

  • the type of exercise we practice,
  • the duration of the exercise session,
  • and the intensity of the exercise.

For example, the more intense the exercise, the more glucose is consumed. As we have already spoken in other entries the glucose that we burn comes partly from the glycogen stored in our organism. This glycogen is stored in the muscles and liver.

This substance is the first source of energy, when the amounts of this substance are running out, our body begins to pull other sources. The fats and proteins of the muscles come into play. The problem with this phase is that fatigue is increasing and the high intensity of exercise cannot be maintained for long.

The longer the exercise, the more fat we consume. It will depend as much on our weight as on the distance covered in the exercise. The more weight the athlete has, the more energy he or she uses for the same exercise.

Cycling and weight loss

Being overweight is one of the consequences of the kind of life we lead. A sedentary life in which everything goes very fast. We make use of fast food on working days, we do not have defined schedules for meals. Finally the daily hustle and bustle does not help, then we spend many hours sitting.

As much in the working day, as in the displacements to the work center. If we add to that possible organic imbalances that lead to the accumulation of fat, overweight is a reality. When overweight is an obvious problem, we usually try to put a brake on it.

The problem is that we have let it pass a lot. And then when we put on we want to lose all the weight gained, in the shortest time possible. If you think this is fast and simple, stop reading. We are not going to deceive you this overweight is not lost as fast as it seems to be gained.

An example in a demanding cyclist of about two hundred kilometers or six hours of pedaling, a well trained cyclist can lose a hundred and fifty grams of fat. If that person needed to lose six kilos in a year, he would need to do about forty similar tests during the year.

It’s not every week that we can put in equivalent sessions, right? It is also true that a trained person does not usually need to lose six kilos of weight. In outings of about seventy kilometers we can lose about fifty grams more or less. That distance is within the possibilities of a wider range of athletes.

With two or three sessions a week we will be in the order of one hundred and fifty grams of loss. At the end of the year we could be close to a weight loss of six kilos. But no matter how much we do this physical exercise, if we do not accompany it with a balanced diet we will not be able to maintain that weight loss.

Tips for losing weight while doing sport

We already know that when we practice sports with sufficient intensity and duration, we lose weight. However, if at the same time we do not implement a diet and healthy habits in terms of nutrition that loss is impossible to maintain over time.

Having this clear there are a number of guidelines or “good habits” in terms of food that will help us and a lot. For example, the relationship between total calories and different food groups is something that must be taken care of. So things of the total calories the carbohydrates should be fifty-five percent. Fats cannot be above thirty percent. And protein by fifteen percent. As for the amount of food will depend on the intensity and duration of exercise, as well as weight control that we carry.

Carbohydrates must be complex carbohydrates, which contain starch, fibre, vitamins and minerals. These substances enter the anaerobic metabolism of which we have already spoken. They will give us the calories we need.

These complex carbohydrates are those given by pasta, cereals, vegetables and fruit. Other foods that a sportsman’s diet should include are those rich in vitamin D, E and C, and folic acid. From dairy, fish, cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruits such as pineapple, kiwi, citrus in general.

Vegetable oils, cereals, peanuts or egg yolk. Foods that have calcium, such as dairy products, nuts, and vegetables. Iron found in meats, liver, and cereals. Others that have Selenium and Zinc, such as shellfish, nuts, cheese and meat.

Physical exercise involves the loss of fluids via perspiration. This loss drags mineral salts and carbohydrates. Therefore, the intake of drinks containing these compounds is not only recommended, but very necessary.

Before the long sessions you should eat foods with a lot of carbohydrates and little fat. The truth is that it is complicated that the same diet is good for everyone. Each organism responds differently to each food, and we must remember that eating should not be something traumatic and yes something that we want. We would give you one last recommendation, look for a sports nutritionist if you are losing the fight with overweight.