Exercise – it’s a free prescription

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Exercise is a free prescription.  Clearly, I need to be careful with that statement given my aversion for cancer myths but it was once prescribed to me to get me through an awful period in 2013.  The vast majority of doctors will tell you exercise is good for us but like me they must realise that it sometimes takes quite a bit of effort to get out there and do some! Apparently the older you get, the harder it becomes (I can confirm this is true!).  In fact, my blog was actually created to document my return to fitness and good health 12 months prior to that!

I’m no stranger to exercise having served for 29 years in the military. However, I’m not 21 anymore and I have some health challenges.  Chris isn’t 21 either – despite her youthful looks (brownie points…).  Some people are quite impressed by our commitment to regularly exercise.  I can honestly say exercise is improving my general health (mental and physical).  I keep a detailed medical log which tracks the things that worry me, and my charts are showing excellent progress. 

There is a lot to be said for cancer patients to do some form of exercise and I know from my own experience, and from some really good on-line evidence, that it does have excellent therapeutic value. For example, it can keep your weight in check, makes you stronger and keeps you feeling youthful (mind over matter is also a good thing!). Can exercise can make you a happier person? I think this might be the case for some people, we are all different. In 2014, my wife and I committed to an 84-mile trek along Hadrian’s Wall in North England, and we spent 3-4 months preparing walking four times that distance. I was very thankful to her for continuously dragging my butt out of bed and into the forest close-by.  During this period, we both felt less stressed out, less anxious, we slept better, and we were generally happier. We continue to exercise together, mainly walking and cycling and we both benefit. I suspect there is some scientific evidence about why this happens i.e. exercise releases ‘happy chemicals’ into/interacting with your brain, mostly ‘Dopamine’ and ‘Endorphins’.  

There is evidence that exercise (in its widest definition) helps with anxiety, depression and helping cancer related fatigue (no matter how unintuitive that sounds).  And Doctors are now prescribing managed exercise to make patients fitter prior to major surgery (something called ‘prehab’).  

In my own case, I’m currently non-syndromic since major surgery and monthly injections of Lanreotide. I therefore suspect the risk of exercise causing me problems is pretty low. In any event, I’m unlikely to indulge in anything really really strenuous! (although I do climb hills just to piss my cancer off!).

I also know many NET patients who exercise frequently.   However, I know from reading on-line forums that many people suffer from varying degrees of carcinoid syndrome and I suspect the 5 Es advice is directed to those who may be more at risk, those with active carcinoid syndrome, those with high levels of 5HIAA, those with carcinoid heart disease, those with catecholamine secreting tumours also need to be careful.  That said, I still believe most people would benefit from some exercise and this is something their doctors might advise on.

The scenery helps too – together, I feel like they are medicine

It’s not just about the exercise for me, I find the scenery surrounding the exercise really beneficial, this gives me a real boost.  Follow my Facebook page Ronny Allan to see more of my walking and scenery combined. 

Exercise safely people.


I am not a doctor or any form of medical professional, practitioner or counsellor. None of the information on my website, or linked to my website(s), or conveyed by me on any social media or presentation, should be interpreted as medical advice given or advised by me. 

Neither should any post or comment made by a follower or member of my private group be assumed to be medical advice, even if that person is a healthcare professional.   

Please also note that mention of a clinical service, trial/study or therapy does not constitute an endorsement of that service, trial/study or therapy by Ronny Allan, the information is provided for education and awareness purposes and/or related to Ronny Allan’s own patient experience. This element of the disclaimer includes any complementary medicine, non-prescription over the counter drugs and supplements such as vitamins and minerals.

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2 thoughts on “Exercise – it’s a free prescription

  • Pam Pinkard

    I was diagnosed in 2012. I still don’t understand it all. What is life expectancy. I have syndrome. It is very active in my liver.

    • Hi Pam, thanks for taking the time to comment. NET Cancer is complex and I’m only at the tip of the iceberg after 4.5 years. Prognosis for NET Cancer is not an exact science and very individual – thus why any statistics you find will most likely be out of date or need some contextualising.

      With the correct treatment and management, many people can lead a fairly normal life. Every week I see news from someone who has been living with their disease for over 20 years! I find the trick is staying on top of the side effects (of both the cancer and the treatment). I don’t know where you live but there are many support groups and I’m very happy to give you tailored signposts to those if you message me on my Facebook site here https://www.facebook.com/pages/NET-Cancer-Blog/476922399112723

I love comments - feel free!

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