Exercise and Movement Therapies: Introduction

Exercise and movement therapies, whether vigorous or gentle, enhance health and wellness.

What are exercise and movement therapies?

Movement includes various forms of aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching, but also therapies like qigong, tai chi, and yoga. These latter therapies can be good options if you are physically limited. Even taking a walk or doing light gardening or housework supports your well-being. Choosing activities that you think are fun or rewarding will increase your motivation and enjoyment.

We emphasize that exercise and movement therapies alone will not likely prevent, cure, or control cancer. Like every other therapy or approach included on this website, exercise and movement are one component of an individualized integrative plan.

What are the benefits of using these therapies?

Exercise may provide a great deal of benefit throughout your cancer experience, even more than diet. Moving your body reduces risks of cancer and recurrence, may promote health and survival after diagnosis, and can reduce some side effects of treatment. Although you may have thought that exercise is not a good idea during treatment, evidence shows that physical activity within your limits can promote wellness and improve your quality of life.

In Moving More, we provide tips and resources to help you start making changes. When beginning exercise or ramping up your level, you may need to build up slowly.

Are they safe?

Consult your healthcare team before undertaking a new or increased exercise routine. Also avoid high-intensity activities when immunosuppressedpartial or complete suppression of the immune response or when experiencing pain, severe fatigue, or compromised bone health. Take care to stay hydrated during and after exercise.

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Authors

Maria Williams

Research and Communications Consultant
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Maria Williams is a research and communications consultant who brings over 15 years’ experience in research, consumer education, and science communication to CancerChoices. She has worked primarily in public health and environmental health.

Maria Williams Research and Communications Consultant

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Reviewer

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Last update: May 12, 2022

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.