Keeping active

In this video, Charlie explains how his non-Hodgkin lymphoma affected his karate and swimming. He talks about how he stayed connected to his hobbies and what he’s up to now. 

Your questions

Can I still exercise when I am having treatment?

Debbi Rowley, physiotherapist, says:

Being active can help you to stay healthy and feel better about yourself, but it’s a good idea to talk to the people who look after you at the hospital first. Some sports may not be a good idea at certain stages of your treatment. For example, if you have a central line (sometimes called a wiggly), it’s best to avoid sports where it may get pulled out. But there are lots of other sporty things you could do, including cycling, dance and yoga. Setting yourself a goal, such as scoring a goal for your football club or performing with your dance club, can give you something to focus on and look forward to. 

How can I stay in touch with friends at my sports club? 

Debbi Rowley, physiotherapist, says:

If you love a sport like football, tennis or gymnastics it can be really annoying and sad if you have to stop doing it. But even if you can’t take part, it’s a good idea to stay in touch with your club if you can. Get your mum, dad or carer to ask the club to send you all the latest news about what’s happening. Perhaps you could go along and watch matches or competitions sometimes, or get involved in other ways like judging at matches. 

It’s been a long time since I played any sport – how can I build up my fitness again safely?

Debbi Rowley, physiotherapist, says:

The team caring for you at the hospital will be able to give you good advice about getting back into exercising. If they agree, you may want to start building a bit more activity into your days. You could walk or cycle to school, or go to your local park with a cricket set, football or some hula-hoops. Perhaps you cold do things like going for a bike ride with your family, or play dance games at home. Try not to wear yourself out though. There will be a physiotherapist at the hospital who can help you decide how much exercise you can do without getting too tired.

Can I still go swimming if I have a central line?

Debbi Rowley, physiotherapist, says:

Speak to your hospital team, but if you have a line or a port (a gadget that sits under your skin) the answer to this is probably no. This is because your line or port may get infected if it gets wet. If the doctor in charge of your treatment agrees, you may be able to do water therapy with a physiotherapist (someone who helps people get better after an illness). This will help to strengthen your muscles and bones. Your physiotherapist will cover your line so that it doesn’t get wet.

Last reviewed: September 2015
Next planned review: 2018