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Palliative Exercise Benefits

Updated: Jan 27, 2020

Patients with life-limiting illnesses often experience functional impairment, resulting in poorer quality of life. Studies have shown that exercise can improve physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing, which all help maintain independence. Findings highlight that exercise in palliative care should not be viewed solely a physical intervention, but one that has potential to enhance many aspects of patients’ quality of life

Physical functioning and physical condition are among the most important determinants of palliative patients' quality of life. Most palliative patients experience multiple symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, difficulty breathing, and nausea, which may all contribute to reduced physical activity, or even inactivity, and thereby reduce physical functioning.

Palliative exercise for cancer patients

Most cancer patients wish to remain physically independent as long as possible and want to their maintain strength and endurance throughout the course of their disease. research shows that it has been estimated that about one-third of cancer patients' reduction in physical functioning may be attributable to physical inactivity. In addition, the cancer disease and treatment often have catabolic or wasting effects on muscle. The contributions from inactivity, the cancer itself, and cancer treatment upon physical function vary across cancer types, disease progression and treatment regimens.

In general, physical activity and nutrition are important to maintain a sense of well-being and enhance quality of life.

Exercise during or after treatment or life prolonging treatment is now considered as an effective means of restoring physical and psychological function.

Palliative in-home exercise may contain the following components

  • Chair exercise

  • Circuit Training and resistance training

  • Balance, strength and coordination exercises

  • Indoor and outdoor mobility and cardiovascular exercise

In palliative in-home wellness services we aim to develop the therapeutic exercise element to meet the needs of the individual. Our health and fitness professionals follow recommendations from the client’s healthcare provider(s) and offer tailor made exercise programs to achieve the best possible outcome for the client.

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