Staying Active During Stem Cell Transplant

This information will help you understand why activity is important during your stem cell transplant and what your healthcare team can do to help.

Part of your stem cell treatment plan is to stay active every day. Your exercise program is designed to keep you safe while keeping you active. 

Physical Activity During Your Transplant is Very Important

Physical activity is important because it helps you to be as healthy as possible throughout your transplant.

Exercise and movement helps to:

  • Keep your muscles strong
  • Keep your body flexible
  • Maintain your heart and lung health
  • Reduce stress and make you feel better
  • Improve sleep

Being in the hospital will reduce your normal level of activity.  Your mobility (ability to move) and strength are very easy to lose if not used. People who don’t stay active during their transplants take more time to recover. It also takes them longer to return to their usual activities or to their home life.

You will need to be much more active during this hospital stay than you may have been during other hospital stays. Activity and exercise will be an important part of your daily treatment while you’re in the hospital. You will work with your healthcare team to set daily and weekly activity goals. They will also help you stay active even while you have side effects from your treatment, giving you help as needed.

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The Role of Your Physical Therapist (PT)

PTs work to improve and maintain your movement and ability to do exercise. Your PT will work with you to find any problems you may have with:

  • Getting in and out of bed
  • Walking
  • Climbing stairs
  • Exercises for strength and balance
  • Exercises to improve your energy and ability to do physical activity (stamina)
  • Your ideas: ________________________________

They will then work with you to design a program to meet your activity needs.

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The Role of Your Occupational Therapist (OT)

OTs work to improve your ability to participate in everyday activities. Your OT will work with you to find any problems you may have with:

  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Eating
  • Toileting
  • Grooming
  • Memory exercises
  • Participating in hobbies (such as reading, knitting, puzzles)
  • Using electronics and social media
  • Your ideas: ________________________________

They will then work with you to design a program to meet your activity needs.

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The Role of Your Nursing Team

Your nurses will work with you to:

  • Check your physical activity daily.
  • Set goals with you and your therapists.
  • Help you with your daily activities, such as bathing and walking.
  • Remind and encourage you to meet your daily goals.
  • Your ideas: ________________________________
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Ways to Keep Your Mind and Body Active During Your Transplant

  • Try to only spend time in bed when you are sleeping. While you are awake, you should be sitting up in a chair, walking around, or spending time outside your room, as allowed by your doctor.
  • Play an active role in your daily and weekly activity goals.
  • Perform daily self-care on your own or with help when needed.
  • Take part in activities as you would at home, such as reading, sending emails to friends and family, doing puzzles, practicing yoga, or stretching.
  • Your ideas: ________________________________

Exercises you can do

There are also some exercises that you can do while you’re in the hospital. You can do some of these from your bed, your chair, or while standing. You can find these resources by searching on for the titles or by asking your nurse for them.

What to Avoid

It is generally safe for you to get out of bed and be active at anytime. However, when blood counts are low, your physical activities may need to be changed. Your healthcare team will tell you what your blood counts are and what activities you can do.

Please use the space below to write down any questions or concerns you have for us.


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