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5 benefits of exercise during cancer treatment

Traditionally patients undergoing cancer treatment are advised to seek significant amounts of rest. However, moderate exercise has become a crucial component in the treatment process.

“Even walking to the end of the driveway and back can be beneficial during treatment,” said Dr. Fariborze Barhamand, hematologist and oncologist on staff at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital.

Fatigue is the most frequently reported side effect from patients undergoing treatment. Patients partaking in moderate exercise activities while undergoing treatment reported fatigue 40 to 50 percent less of the time, according to the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Regular exercise offers benefits including:

  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Improved bone and heart health
  • Lowered risk of blood clots
  • Improved mood
  • Reduced need for anti-nausea medication

Walking, light gardening and taking the stairs instead of an elevator are some options for light and moderate exercise.

Ultimately, the amount and intensity of exercise will vary from patient to patient and each individual should consult with their physician regarding how often they should exercise.

The Good Samaritan Health and Wellness Center located on the campus of Good Samaritan Hospital offers an exercise program, Shape Up: Begin to Thrive, that specifically targets patients undergoing cancer treatment. For more information on this program and a list of classes call 630.275.2700 or visit

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