CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) Notice for all patients and visitors.

Breast Cancer Research Centre - WA

Staying Active while Staying at Home (Part 1)

During the COVID-19 pandemic we are all making changes to our daily lives. More time spent at home could mean we are participating in less incidental and less structured exercise. A recent study of over 2000 Australians found that 1 in 3 of us have reduced our usual amount of exercise since the physical distancing laws commenced.

Although we may need to be more inventive about how we exercise, keeping active is still within our reach. Keeping active plays a key role in boosting our immune system, maintaining a strong mental and physical health and reinforcing positive and healthy lifestyle habits.

People with cancer should be as physically active as their ability and condition allows. Research shows that exercise benefits you before, during and after cancer treatment.

Exercise can:

  • Strengthen your muscles and bones
  • Help you maintain or achieve a healthy weight
  • Improve your fatigue and energy levels
  • Improve your mobility and balance
  • Improve your appearance and self-esteem
  • Help you cope with stress, anxiety and depression

Australian Guidelines recommend that you should aim to be active on most, if not all days. You should minimise the amount of time spent in prolonged sitting.

Your weekly activity should include a combination of:

  • Moderate intensity aerobic exercise totalling at least 150 minutes per week. This could be broken down into 30 minutes 5 times a week. This may include walking, cycling, jogging, dancing, energetic housework, gardening, step ups or marching on the spot.
  • Strength training 2-3 session per week. This may be lifting weights, using resistance bands or your own body weight (such as squats or push ups).

If you currently do no physical activity, it is best to start slowly. Exercise at a low intensity with plenty of rest intervals. Gradually build up to the recommended amount.

Key Tips for a Home Workout:

  • Create a designated workout space
  • Set realistic goals and reward yourself when you achieve them!
  • Schedule your sessions in your diary or smartphone
  • Train in the morning before the day escapes you
  • Put your exercise clothes or gym kit on to mean business!
  • Chart your progress
  • Tune into some energetic, uplifting music
  • Mix it up
  • Recruit a workout buddy (friend or family) to join you

Warm up, Cool down and Stretch

Before you get into your workout, it’s important to warm up. Just a few minutes of light activity is all you need. Walking or jogging on the spot, deep breaths, leg swings, shoulder rolls, pumping your arms, controlled punches, body windmills will loosen your joints and warm up your muscles.

After your workout, cool down in the same way but at a slower tempo. This is also a great time to stretch any tight muscles, holding each stretch for 20-30 seconds.

Part 2 will cover : Home Aerobic Exercises, Home Strength Exercises, Activate in your Workspace, Virtual Exercise and how to stay motivated.

If you feel unsure of where to start, the oncology physiotherapists and exercise physiologists at Ramsay Health Plus Hollywood can tailor a specific home exercise program for you, either in our clinic or via Telehealth. Contact us on 9346 6932 to learn more.

About the Author

Lizzie Eastwood is a physiotherapist and advanced lymphoedema practitioner. She has worked in oncology, palliative care and rehabilitation at Hollywood Hospital for 13 years. She is passionate about partnering and empowering her patients along their cancer journey.  Lizzie is the lead oncology outpatient physiotherapist at Ramsay Health Plus Hollywood.

Acknowledgements:
https://www.petermac.org/services/cancer-information-resources/coronavirus/keeping-well-during-covid-19
https://www.healthier.qld.gov.au/fitness/exercises
https://www.cancerwa.asn.au/articles/news-2020/staying-fit-while-staying-at-home
https://livelighter.com.au