Mobility Exercise after Cancer: Not Just for the Young
Mobility Exercise
Marian Barnick

Marian Barnick

Registered Kinesiologist and Human Movement Specialist


Mobility Exercise

Mobility Exercise for Cancer is Not Just for the Young

Think again if you believe that mobility exercise is limited to the young.   Clearly you haven’t heard about Harriette.


 Harriette Thompson passed away in 2017 at the age of 94.  One of the remarkable things about Harriette, aside from so many others, is that Harriette ran a marathon at the age of 92 and ran a half marathon at the age of 94.  Wow!!!  This is incredible.  

But wait, there’s more!  

Harriette was a three time cancer survivor.  She started running in her mid 70s as a way to raise money and awareness for cancer research. 

If that’s not a little motivation, I’m not sure what is.

There is never an age limit for exercise.  And you can start at any age – even after a cancer diagnosis.  What’s important is where you start.  You need to start with Mobility Exercise and make sure you build your foundations before you level up.  This is what’s going to make it possible to reach your best potential.

Cancer Rehabilitation At All Stages of Disease

Exercise is being recommended for cancer patients as soon as they’re diagnosed.  Before treatment, during treatment, and after treatment.  Exercise can be amazing to help you through cancer.  What’s important?  Get your doctor’s consent to exercise and make sure you exercise safely.

When you look at putting together exercise for cancer, other risk factors beyond your cancer diagnosis need to be considered to make sure your program is safe.  These risk factors can include osteoporosis, a joint replacement, or back pain. 

Prior to treatment, cancer prehabilitation works to set your body up for the best success in getting through treatment.

During treatment, exercise can help with chemotherapy side effects but must be considered based on a number of specific considerations including fatigue levels, previous surgery, and your blood work results.

After treatment, you need to ensure that you’ve been cleared to begin exercising.  Having a selective functional movement assessment is important.  This allows your program to be developed by a cancer movement therapist who not only understands functional movement but also understands cancer, cancer treatment, and the side effects.

As we age, there are factors to consider based not only on health history but based on your activity level.  You may be motivated to start with oncology rehabilitation.  If you’re a breast cancer survivor you’ve heard that exercising decreases the risk of recurrence.  But if the last time you exercises was playing tag in grade school, you’ve got to start slowly and give your body time to progress towards your activity goals.


Where to Start with Mobility Exercise After Cancer

Start slowly.  And add to your exercise program as you are motivated and as you are able.  We are not all going to be marathon runners.  Pick an activity that you love (or at least like) because it will help you stick to your program.  Some patients crave variety, looking for new activities to fight boredom or build skills.  Others like the comfort of familiarity and stick with what works for them.  This could be walking, swimming, elliptical, or yoga.  Maybe it’s a stretching program.  It doesn’t matter as long as it’s right for you!

Cancer Rehabilitation to Help Your Body Recover


You need to consider if your body is ready for these activities.  And there’s three things to consider with your Mobility Exercises to ensure your body can take on your exercise challenges.


I base all my patients’ rehabilitation therapy on the Foundations First Framework.  This framework is designed to assist your body with healing, recovery, and functional movement patterns to get you to your best potential.

Start with range of motion.  This is key to make sure you joints can move into the positions you need.

Stability is the next step.  You need to ensure you’re body can hold positioning, support itself, and stay balanced.

Finally (NOT FIRST) is strength.   Once your body is moving well and has good stability, start working on your strength.

Any questions on Mobility Exercise or #foundationsfirstframework just let me know.

I’m here to help.

You can also check out the latest information on breast cancer and exercise right here.

Just click here

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