Skip to content

Exercise for You and Your Caregiver

Learn about exercise for people with cancer and their caregivers in this guide from The ONE Group (Oncology – Nutrition – Exercise) at Penn State College of Medicine.

Jump to topic


What you should know

Who is a caregiver?

A caregiver is someone who helps with daily needs. These include:

  • Going to doctor visits
  • Making meals
  • Giving medication

A caregiver sometimes will put their needs and feelings aside to take care of a loved one. Doing this for a long time can have a negative effect on their health as well as yours.

It is important that your caregiver is able to take care of themselves while also taking care of you.

One of the best ways they can take care of themselves and make sure you stay healthy is to exercise!

What is exercise?

Exercise is any activity requiring physical effort that is done to improve health and fitness. Examples of exercise include walking, weight-lifting and dancing.

Why is exercise important?

Exercise has both short-term and long-term benefits. Overall, exercise can greatly improve your quality of life.

What you can do: Exercise with your caregiver

Exercising with your caregiver

  • You and your caregiver exercising together will enhance your quality of life while also making them strong and healthy enough to be a good caretaker.
  • Exercising together can strengthen the bond between you and your caregiver.
  • Exercise can help to make you more independent with certain tasks, which will help your caregiver have some time to care for themselves.
  • Exercising together will make sure that you keep each other accountable.
  • You and your caregiver can become stronger and healthier together.

Benefits of exercise for you and your caregiver

  • Increased happiness
  • Decreased stress
  • Increased energy levels
  • Enhanced brain health
  • Help with sleep quality
  • Strengthened personal bond

Exercises you and your caregiver can do together

  • Walking/jogging
  • Dancing
  • Riding bicycles
  • Hiking
  • Balance exercises
  • Badminton
  • Lifting weights
  • Yoga

Things to keep in mind

  • Check with your physician to make sure it is safe to exercise.
  • You might not be as physically fit as your caregiver. That is OK!
  • Start slowly and try to find a pace that works for both of you.
  • Stay consistent with your exercises and you will see great improvement.
  • Find activities that both you and your caregiver enjoy.
  • Stay hydrated and safe!

Where can I find more information about aerobic and strength-training exercises?

If you are interested in starting aerobic and/or strength-training exercises, The ONE Group (Oncology – Nutrition – Exercise) provides videos demonstrating proper form for more than 50 exercises.

See the videos here


Contact your physician if:

  • You injure yourself due to exercise.
  • You feel any pain that does not feel like the common muscle soreness that can occur with increased exercise.
  • You experience any dizziness or lightheadedness while exercising.


  • Mayo Clinic
  • National Institute on Aging
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services