People living with or after cancer

Produced on behalf of the Ramblers by Macmillan Cancer Support

When you’re living with or after cancer, physical activity can help you make a positive change to your life. Walking is one of the easiest ways to become active as it doesn’t require any specialist equipment to get started, just a good pair of walking shoes and you’re ready to go.

The important thing to know is that walking is safe both during and after most types of cancer treatment and has lots of benefits including strengthening your bones and heart, reducing body fat, improving mental health, and reducing lympheodema and fatigue, and the risk of progression or recurrence of some cancers.

The Department of Health tells us we should all be achieving at least two and a half hours a week of moderate intensity physical activity, such as walking, as well as activities that improve strength, balance and flexibility, and to avoid long periods of sitting still.

During treatment it is recommended that people try to reduce the amount of time that they spend resting or sitting. Just moving about can help prevent blood clots, reduce muscle wasting and improve your mood. After treatment we recommend people gradually build up the amount of physical activity they do, setting achievable goals while doing an activity they enjoy.

Always walk at your own pace and listen to your body. Start by taking short walks with regular breaks. It’s important to gradually build up the amount you do by setting realistic, achievable goals that work for you. You can find out more about short walks near you at www.walkingforhealth.org.uk.

Over time you’ll be able to increase the amount you do. Before starting, seek medical advice if you have a heart condition or pain in your chest, if you ever lose balance, if you’ve not sufficiently recovered from surgery, or if you have a bone or joint problem that could be made worse by a change in physical activity levels.

For more information on the benefits of physical activity during and after cancer treatment visit www.macmillan.org.uk.