Keeping Me Well - Cardiff and Vale University Hospital

Getting Active

Introduction to Physical Activity

Physical Activity covers any movement that you make that uses more energy than resting, and can range from getting out of a chair to digging in the garden.

Here are some examples of physical activity:

  • Brisk Walking
  • Riding a bike
  • Dancing
  • Mowing the lawn (pushing the lawnmower)

It is important to be as physically active as possible; this means trying to avoid sitting wherever you can. It counts towards our weekly goal of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise and is less structured than your exercise sessions. This should be the minimum amount of time you are aiming to be physically active for, the more time you are physically active the better.

Remember to have more active days in a week than rest days. You can use an activity diary to monitor your activity levels and progress.

You can choose any type of activity, as long as you are using more energy than rest, the best thing to do is choose activities that you enjoy – such as dancing or gardening.

Like aerobic exercise, physical activity will be more effective when sustained for longer. If you are active for longer you will gain more beneficial outcomes.

It is still important that you feel breathless when you are doing physical activity. This way we know that our muscles are working hard. People will react differently to activities; some will make you more breathless than others. It is important that you perform these activities at your own pace.

Remember to use the Rating of Perceived Exertion scale (RPE – see below) when measuring your breathlessness. You should be aiming to be at level 4-6 for at least 10 minutes of the activity if possible. Vigorous activity can be added in, as long as you feel able to do this, it should be done in shorter bursts than moderate activity (typically sessions are no longer than 20 minutes in total).

Diagram showing the RPE scale

There is no reason why you can’t continue your physical activity during your treatment. The more you do during this time, the better the outcomes.

The following exercises will improve your strength and stamina. The plan will guide and motivate you while working towards your goal of improving your fitness. These exercises can be done at home and don’t require any specialist equipment.

Also in this section

Further support and help:

The advice on these pages is designed to help you prepare for the treatment ahead and support you through to recovery.

If you need further advice and support please discuss this with your key worker or healthcare professional.

  • Macmillan Cancer Support:
    0808 808 00 00
  • Maggie’s Cardiff:
    029 2240 8024
  • Tenovus Cancer Care:
    0808 808 1010
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