Exercise plays a crucial role in the recovery and overall well-being of individuals undergoing treatment for blood cancers. Here’s how exercise benefits blood cancer patients and survivors:

Physical Benefits of Exercise

  1. Improved Physical Functioning:
    • Strength and Endurance: Regular exercise, including aerobic activities (e.g., walking, cycling) and resistance training, helps build strength and endurance, combating cancer-related fatigue and improving overall physical function.
  2. Management of Treatment Side Effects:
    • Fatigue Reduction: Exercise has been shown to reduce cancer-related fatigue, a common side effect of treatment that can persist long after treatment ends.
    • Maintaining Muscle Mass: Resistance training exercises help maintain muscle mass and prevent muscle wasting, which can occur during prolonged periods of inactivity or due to certain cancer treatments.
  3. Enhanced Immune Function:
    • Immune System Support: Moderate exercise boosts immune function, potentially reducing the risk of infections and supporting overall immune health during treatment.

Psychological and Emotional Benefits

  1. Reduced Stress and Anxiety:
    • Mood Elevation: Physical activity releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that promote feelings of well-being and reduce stress and anxiety levels.
    • Coping Mechanism: Engaging in exercise provides a constructive outlet for managing emotional distress and maintaining a positive outlook.
  2. Improved Quality of Life:
    • Sense of Control: Regular exercise empowers individuals by promoting a sense of control over their health and recovery process.
    • Social Interaction: Group exercise classes or activities can provide social support and a sense of community among cancer survivors.

Long-Term Health Benefits

  1. Cardiovascular Health:
    • Heart Health: Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, reducing the risk of heart disease, which may be a concern for some cancer survivors.
  2. Cancer Recurrence and Survival:
    • Potential Impact: While more research is needed, some studies suggest that regular physical activity may lower the risk of cancer recurrence and improve survival outcomes for certain types of cancers, including blood cancers.

Recommendations for Exercise

  1. Consultation with Healthcare Team:
    • Individualized Plan: Before starting an exercise regimen, consult with your oncologist or healthcare provider to determine safe and appropriate activities based on your treatment plan, overall health, and any physical limitations.
  2. Gradual Progression:
    • Start Slowly: Begin with low-intensity activities and gradually increase duration and intensity as tolerated. Listen to your body and adjust exercise routines accordingly.
  3. Variety of Activities:
    • Balance and Flexibility: Include a mix of aerobic, resistance, and flexibility exercises to promote overall fitness and address different aspects of physical health.
  4. Safety Precautions:
    • Hydration and Rest: Stay hydrated, take breaks as needed, and avoid exercising in extreme temperatures or when feeling fatigued.
    • Monitor Symptoms: Be mindful of any new or worsening symptoms and communicate them promptly to your healthcare team.


Exercise is a vital component of blood cancer recovery, offering physical, psychological, and long-term health benefits. By incorporating regular physical activity into your routine under the guidance of healthcare professionals, you can enhance your quality of life, manage treatment side effects, and support overall well-being during and after cancer treatment.

By Sue