Moving more and keeping active

Why exercise?

Exercise is important for keeping your bones and muscles strong. It helps prevent muscle loss which can happen as a result of inactivity and some cancer medications. Exercise also helps boost your mood, reduces anxiety and makes you feel better about yourself.

‘The new normal’ is often talked about during and following cancer treatment. The idea of resuming a pre-cancer diagnosis treatment exercise schedule, or starting from scratch with exercise if you did not exercise before can seem overwhelming at first. It is recommended that you start slowly, and build up gradually, and consult with your GP or clinical team before starting a new exercise regime.

Any type of exercise or movement that uses your muscles counts. Do something you enjoy that fits your ability. Start small and build yourself up.

Macmillan have put together a video the benefits of being physically active during and after cancer treatment


Get started

There are many different activities available and we can sign post you to local groups and council led activities that are running.

Examples of exercise include:

  • Housework
  • Gardening
  • Shopping
  • Walking. The Trust runs a weekly wellbeing walk for cancer patients.
  • Chair exercises
  • Dancing
  • Climbing the stairs instead of using the lift


Exercise programmes

  • The Macmillan Move More Guide has an exercise DVD included, giving you the opportunity to exercise at home. Please let a member of the Macmillan and Guidance Service (MAGS) team know if you would like a copy of this posted to you.
  • Lewisham borough runs an exercise on referral scheme, along with Fusion Leisure and 1Life. This is a 12 week programme that might include aqua, circuit classes, gym sessions and led-walks. At the end of the programme, you have the opportunity to join the leisure centre and use the facilities at a discounted rate.  If you are interested in being referred to this programme of exercise, please speak to your Clinical Nurse Specialist or GP.
  • Greenwich borough runs an adult physical activity referral scheme called Healthwise. The scheme is for adults with an existing health condition. For further information please telephone 020 8317 5010 and select option 4 or email at You can also contact your GP for more information.

The Macmillan website has a range of useful guidance for cancer patients on keeping active