If you are living with a diagnosis of bone metastasis, you may have been told to be careful to avoid falls but not about the importance of exercise. Although an exercise regimen that combines aerobic and resistance training has been proved to reduce cancer-related fatigue, fall risk, anxiety and depression, people with advanced cancer are rarely given exercise guidance.
A recent paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology shows that for people with bone metastases, regular exercise has the potential to maintain or improve physical function and health-related quality of life.
It’s important to speak to your oncologist about your exercise goals to better understand the personal risks you may face. Ask whether your bone metastasis raises concerns about fractures, even if you work with a trained cancer rehabilitation or exercise professional. If you get the green light, ask for a referral.
A few tips for a safe routine:
- Start working on your posture. Lift your chest, pull your shoulders back and gaze forward two to three feet. Start seated and then stand and finally walk. Work up to five-minute sessions.
- Full-body movements, such as chair marching, chair sit-to-stand exercises or countertop push-ups are more effective in strengthening muscles and joints than isolated ones, such as bicep curls.
- Focus on range of motion. You should be able to complete a body weight exercise without pain before you add any extra resistance via bands or dumbbells, for instance.
- Shorter 5- to 10-minute daily sessions will make you stronger faster than one or two longer weekly sessions.
Most important, work with a cancer exercise professional to develop an exercise routine that works for you.