8 Fun Outdoor Exercise Ideas for Cancer Survivors and Friends

For cancer survivors, engaging in physical activity after treatment can be a desirable but 

daunting idea. Healthcare professionals agree that outdoor exercise can help to build strength, endurance, and overall physical fitness, which can, in turn, help improve quality of life. Exercise can also enhance your mental well-being and has even been proven to reduce the risk of cancer recurrence. However, finding ways to move your body without discomfort or developing a workout routine that will help you stay motivated on your health journey can be overwhelming.

That’s why, we want to share some of our favorite, fun outdoor exercise ideas that cancer survivors can try with family or friends in this blog:

1. Walk Around Your Neighborhood

Walking is a low-impact exercise that is ideal for cancer survivors. It is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature while also improving cardiovascular health and reducing stress.

Before her diagnosis, Survivor Fitness participant Roberta Justice’s favorite activity was going on walks with her son. One of her primary training goals was to regain the strength and stamina to continue their 5-mile walks together. 

2. Hike a Nearby Trail or Park

If you’re looking for an “elevated” approach to walking, hiking can be a more challenging alternative that involves traversing different types of terrain. It can be an excellent way to build endurance and strength while enjoying scenic views. There are a variety of online tools and apps, such as AllTrails, that can help you find a trail that is enjoyable and manageable based on your current physical capacity. 

Survivor Fitness alumni Brooke Harman made it her mission to hike Mount LeConte after her treatment. Over the span of a few months, she worked her way up to accomplish her goal, and she hasn’t looked back since. 

3. Cycle Outdoors

Cycling is a great way to get outdoors and explore new areas. It can help to build leg strength and cardiovascular fitness while also reducing stress. It’s also a low-impact routine for individuals who want a high-intensity workout but don’t want to create further damage or discomfort to their bones and joints. 

4. Go for a Swim

The pool is a great place to exercise outdoors during the warmer summer months. Swimming offers unique advantages that many other cardiovascular exercises do not because the activity involves so many different muscles, including the heart. It also helps increase your flexibility, which is a critical factor in helping your body recover from cancer and cancer treatment, especially if your joints have weakened during chemotherapy. It can also serve as a great low-impact workout since water supports and cushions the impact of vigorous movement. 

5. Try Outdoor Yoga

Yoga is a gentle form of exercise that can help to improve flexibility, strength, and balance. It is also a great way to reduce stress and enhance mental well-being.

Multiple studies have shown there are numerous benefits of yoga for cancer survivors. During warmer seasons, many yoga studios and local fitness centers offer outdoor classes to enhance the physical benefits of yoga with the perks of exercising outdoors.     

6. Take to Water Activities

Kayaking or canoeing are both excellent ways to explore your natural surroundings while also getting a great upper-body workout. Pushing an oar through the water can help to build arm strength and improve cardiovascular health. Most kayaks are lightweight and easy enough to manage on your own. However, kayaking with a friend or group is a great way to build community and connection while enjoying physical activity. 

7. Strength Train in the Park 

If you’re looking for an exercise routine that incorporates strength and resistance training, but you don’t want to be stuck inside, you have a few options. Many parks and greenways have calisthenic equipment. You can also use a nearby bench for various arm, chest, and leg exercises. 

As with any physical activity, it’s important for cancer survivors to make sure workout routines are safe and appropriate based on individual needs and medical history. The good news is that there are easy ways to modify exercise routines based on your current physical capabilities. 

8. Play Outside with Friends and Family

Being able to play with children, grandkids, or nieces and nephews is often one of the primary goals for cancer survivors. This goal also offers a unique opportunity for exercise. Whether the little one you’re with enjoys frisbee, tag, kickball, or jumping on the trampoline, each of these fun activities can help to get your heart rate up and increase your fitness level while you’re enjoying time together.  

Building Back Stronger After Cancer

If you need more guidance to reach your fitness goals throughout the summer (or anytime this year), we are here and happy to help. Learn more about the benefits of Survivor Fitness or connect with us today to learn more.