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How to keep active during shielding

Keeping active is important at the best times. Undertaking light exercise when you have lung cancer has been shown to improve how patients respond to and recover from treatment, as well as manage fatigue, improve sleep and reduce anxiety – something we could all do with at the moment.

But, with lung cancer patients advised to self-isolate, or shield, for a minimum of 12 weeks, how can you keep active? Fortunately, we’ve found a number of ways you can exercise, even when you can’t get outside.

Here are our top five tips to help you keep active during your period of self-isolation. Please remember that everyone’s condition is different so find the exercise that works for you. Go at your own pace and take regular breaks:

Video workouts

If you usually attend fitness classes such as Yoga or Pilates to help manage your lung cancer symptoms, you might be wondering how you can do this at home without a teacher. Well, self-isolation doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising! YouTube has plenty of video tutorials for a variety of fitness levels. Many of our patients have found sessions from Lotus Flower Yoga particularly good.

If you are looking for a more advanced workout, The Body Coach, Joe Wick, is hosting daily PE sessions (Mon-Fri) on his YouTube channel. Alternatively, search YouTube for a workout that suits you.

Step it up

You don’t need to go to the gym to get a workout! You can use your stairs! Stair climbing helps strengthen your legs, tone muscles and improve blood flow.

You can do simple step ups on the stairs or, for a more strenuous workout, hold a weighted object in each hand (a tin or can is perfect).

You can also do other exercises on your stairs including stair push ups, lunges and side steps. Use the bannister to steady yourself if you need to and be careful not to trip.

The home stretch

Doing regular stretching will improve movement in your chest and back. This will help your lungs and diaphragm move more freely and improve deeper breathing and circulation.

Good stretches to do include:

  • Shoulder stretch
  • Triceps stretch
  • Standing side stretch
  • Bicep curls
  • Knee bends
  • Heel raises.

Check out our Living with Lung Cancer page for full explanations and diagrams.

Roses are red

If you are fortunate to have a garden, we’re sure you’re already making the most of it. Thankfully, the weather is on our side!

Gardening is a brilliant form of exercise. Weeding, trimming and watering are all great ways to undertake some light exercise, whilst digging, tilling and raking can give you a more vigorous workout.

Getting out in the fresh air can also help lift your spirits, improve your appetite and reduce stress and anxiety.

May I have this dance?

If you’re self-isolating with your partner, why not use this opportunity to learn a new skill together – and exercise at the same time.

There are loads of basic dance lessons for all different types of dances on YouTube. Some of the Strictly Come Dancing pro dancers, including 2019 champion Oti Mabuse, are even hosting live classes. Start practicing now and, who knows, maybe you could take part in our next Strictly Ballroom fundraiser!

Share your tips

Found a good way to keep active? Don’t keep it to yourself. Share it on our lung cancer forum and help other keep active whilst shielding.

Join today to share your tips and chat to people who know what you’re going through.