Attention CHOP clinicians: patient education should be printed and assigned via EPIC's Teaching Library.
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Oncology: Activities and Stretches

These are instructions for Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) oncology patients to improve their strength, flexibility, motor planning and endurance.

Patient instructions: activities

The following activities can help improve your strength and endurance in your arms, hands, legs, and trunk. These activities will also help improve balance and coordination. Try to fit some of these activities intyour routine every day.

  • Chair push-ups: While seated in a desk chair, place hands alongside thighs, lift yourself up only using your arms. Don't push up with your feet.

  • Play Twister.

  • Play games, watch TV, or do homework while lying on your stomach.

  • Animal walking:

    • Bear: on all fours with arms extended and bottom in the air.

    • Crab: sit on the floor with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place your hands alongside your hips. Use your arms and feet tpush your bottom off the floor.

    • Frog: lean forward on arms. Hop feet forward tland near your arms.

    • Horse: gallop and skip.

    • Penguin: walk on your heels with your toes off the ground.

    • Make up your own animal walk!

  • Crab soccer: get into crab position as above and kick the ball through the goal with your feet.

  • Simon says or follow-the-leader, be creative. Include some of the other activities listed above.

  • Playground: swinging, climbing, monkey bars.

  • Make yourself into an airplane: lie on your stomach, keep your arms and legs straight and lift them off the floor. Hold the position as long as you can.

  • When coloring or painting, tape the picture on a wall or use an easel. Stand up while doing the activity.

  • Obstacle courses that include some of the above activities for example, walk on a balance beam, walk like a bear, climb across monkey bars, then wheelbarrow walk to the end…race against other children to the finish!

Patient instructions: stretching

Flexibility is important to prevent pain and injury. Gentle stretching exercises can become part of your routine each day. There are many ways to stretch. Your physical therapist can help you find the best options. The best stretch is gentle and without bouncing. You may feel a pull but should not feel pain. Your therapist will tell you how long thold each exercise, how many times you should repeat each one, and how many times you should perform the exercises each day.

Seated hamstring stretch

Seated hamstring stretch

Sit with your back supported and legs straight in front. Lean forward. For a deeper stretch, tuck one leg in near groin, and lean forward.

Calf stretch

Calf stretch

Sit with your back supported and legs straight in front. Use a towel roll around the bottom of your foot and gently pull foot towards your body.

Hip flexor stretch

Hip flexor stretch

Lie flat on your stomach. If you do not feel a stretch on the front of your hips, push onto your forearms or hands.


Reviewed on January 1, 2023, by Stacey Caviston, PT, DPT

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