Regular physical activity has been shown to benefit people with lymphoma in many ways. Most importantly, exercise has been proven to help those diagnosed with lymphoma live longer. Exercise can also improve the quality of life of those with lymphoma. Being physically active helps reduce fatigue and sleep problems. People with lymphoma who exercise regularly report better physical function, improved mood, and increased self-esteem. Some lymphoma treatments are only recommended for those in good overall condition, so staying physically active may help keep more treatment options open.
Remaining sedentary can speed the loss of strength and function. A sedentary lifestyle can also contribute to the development of other conditions such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and depression. A sedentary lifestyle also contributes to osteoporosis, which can lead to painful and debilitating bone fractures.
For all these reasons, exercise is worthwhile for people with lymphoma.
What does it involve?
Consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise regimen. Your doctor may want to assess your bone density or fitness level. You may need to avoid certain types of exercise due to risk for bone fractures or other issues. Either your doctor or a physical therapist can help guide you toward activities that are safe for your condition.
Weight-bearing exercises strengthen bones and muscles. Weight-bearing activities can range from walking to stair-climbing, using an elliptical machine, dancing, or lifting weights. Even bearing your own body weight or lifting very light weights can strengthen muscles and build bones. Many weight-bearing exercises can be done in a seated position.
Improving balance can help you avoid falls. Exercises that focus on balance include tai chi and yoga, walking on tiptoe, and standing on one leg.
Daily activities such as shopping, gardening, or walking a pet can also provide safe, valuable exercise.
Whatever type of exercise you choose, follow some general safety guidelines. Always begin your workout session with a gradual warm-up and take the time to cool down afterward. Stay hydrated with plenty of cool liquids, choosing beverages without caffeine. While exercising, listen to your body. If you feel pain or become short of breath, take a break and rest. Exercise should be somewhat challenging, but never a struggle.
It is important not to become discouraged early on when beginning an exercise regimen. Set attainable goals and focus on finding ways of staying active that are safe, enjoyable and easy to do regularly. Even a few minutes of exercise each day can provide benefits to those with lymphoma.
Exercise can help those with lymphoma live longer and improve their quality of life and ability to function. Getting regular physical activity can reduce some lymphoma symptoms and treatment side effects such as fatigue, trouble sleeping, and mood problems.
One study at the Mayo Clinic involved more than 4,000 people with lymphoma over three years. Those who reported exercising more after receiving their lymphoma diagnosis had significantly improved survival rates over those who reported exercising less after receiving diagnosis.
Another study provided questionnaires to 625 survivors of aggressive lymphoma. Those who met levels of physical activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – 30 minutes of activity per day, five days a week – reported significantly higher quality-of-life scores than those who did not meet recommended exercise levels.
A study completed in the Netherlands found that people with lymphoma who reported regular physical activity consistently reported lower levels of fatigue.
People with lymphoma may avoid exercise due to pain, fatigue, or weakness. Exercise may seem especially out of reach to those undergoing or recovering from lymphoma treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or autologous stem cell transplant (ASCT).
Some people with lymphoma live with pain from fractures or spinal cord compression that makes it difficult to exercise. Others avoid exercise because they are at high risk for fractures.
Treatment side effects such as fatigue, weakness, dizziness, or nausea may make it more difficult to exercise.
For more details about this treatment, visit:
Increasing physical activity improves survival in lymphoma patients, Mayo researchers say – Mayo Clinic News Network
Exercise – Lymphoma Action
Exercise – Lymphoma Canada
Exercise patterns and quality of life among survivors of aggressive lymphoma. – Journal of Clinical Oncology
High levels of physical activity are associated with lower levels of fatigue among lymphoma patients: Results from the longitudinal PROFILES registry – Acta Ongologica