There is no evidence that physical activity makes fatigue worse and some research shows it can help (3,4,7,8)
We need more research to understand if being physically active can make fatigue better, but try gentle movement such as yoga or a walk if you are too tired to do more.
Remember, you’ll still get the health benefits from movement when you feel tired.
Quality of Evidence
Strength of Recommendation
Being active when fatigued is not harmful and importantly, you will still get the benefits of being active for general health. Doing just a little movement counts when you’re too tired to do more.
More good-quality evidence is needed to understand if being active helps improve fatigue.
- P. S. Hinds, M. Hockenberry, S. N. Rai et al., “Clinical Field Testing of an Enhanced-Activity Intervention in Hospitalized Children with Cancer,” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, vol. 33, no. 6, pp. 686–697, 2007
- Rosenhagen A, Bernhörster M, Vogt L, et al. Implementation of structured physical activity in the pediatric stem cell transplantation. Klin Padiatr. 2011;223(3):147-51.
- Atkinson M, Osborn M. A structured ten-week exercise intervention is associated with improvements in quality of life, fatigue, and functional status in adolescents and young adults with cancer. Asia Pac J Clin Oncol. 2012;8(Suppl 3):abstract 321.
- Keats MR, Culos-Reed SN. A community-based physical activity program for adolescents with cancer (project TREK): program feasibility and preliminary findings. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2008;30(4):272-80.
- Yeh CH, Man Wai JP, Lin US, et al. (2011) A pilot study to examine the feasibility and effects of a home-based aerobic program on reducing fatigue in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Cancer Nursing 34: 3–12.
- DiorioC, Schechter T, LeeM, et al. (2015)Apilot study to evaluate the feasibility of individualized yoga for inpatient children receiving intensive chemotherapy. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 15: 2–6.
- Ekti GR and Conk Z. (2008) Impact of effective nursing interventions to the fatigue syndrome in children who receive chemotherapy. Cancer Nursing 31: 312–317.
- Hooke MC, Gilchrist L, Tanner L, et al. (2016a) Use of a fitness tracker to promote physical activity in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia Pediatric Blood Cancer 63: 684–689.
- Hooke MC, Gilchrist L, Foster L, et al. (2016b) Yoga for children and adolescents after completing cancer treatment. Journal of Pediatric Oncology Nursing 33: 64–73.
- Takken T, VanDerTorre P, Zwerink M, et al. (2009) Development, feasibility and efficacy of a community based exercise training program in pediatric cancer survivors. Psycho-Oncology 18: 440–448.
- van Dijk-Lokkart EM, Braam KI, van Dulmen-den Broeder E, et al. (2016) Effects of a combined physical and psychosocial intervention program for childhood cancer patients on quality of life and psychosocial functioning: results of the QLIM randomized clinical trial. Psycho-Oncology 25: 815–822.