In This Section Exercise and Breast Cancer Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. Research has shown that women who exercise have an improved quality of life and have fewer side effects during and following treatment. Exercise has also been shown to enhance overall health and wellness, improve mood, reduce fatigue, and increase stamina. Some research suggests that exercise may reduce the chances of a breast cancer recurrence.
Living Well During Treatment Physical Activity and the Cancer Patient In the past, people being treated for a chronic illness an illness a person may live with for a long time, like cancer or diabetes were often told by their doctor to rest and reduce their physical activity. This is good advice if movement causes pain, rapid heart rate, or shortness of breath.
But newer research has shown that exercise is not only safe and possible during cancer treatment, but it can improve how well you function physically and your quality of life.
Too much rest can lead to loss of body function, muscle weakness, and reduced range of motion. So today, many cancer care teams are urging their patients to be as physically active as possible during cancer treatment.
Many people are learning about the advantages of being physically active after treatment, too. But regular moderate exercise has been found to have health benefits for the person with cancer. It should also be something you like doing.
Your exercise plan should take into account any exercise program you already follow, what you can do now, and any physical problems or limits you have. Certain things affect your ability to exercise, for instance: The type and stage of cancer you have Your cancer treatment Your stamina endurancestrength, and fitness level If you exercised before treatment, you might need to exercise less than usual or at a lower intensity during treatment.
The goal is to stay as active and fit as possible. People who were very sedentary inactive before cancer treatment may need to start with short, low-intensity activity, such as short slow walks.
For older people, those with cancer that has spread to the bones or osteoporosis bone thinningor problems like arthritis or peripheral neuropathy numbness in hands or feetsafety and balance are important to reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
They may need a caregiver or health professional with them during exercise. Some people can safely begin or maintain their own exercise program, but many will have better results with the help of an exercise specialist, physical therapist, or exercise physiologist.
They can also help you figure out how often and how long you should exercise. After treatment When you are recovering from treatment Many side effects get better within a few weeks after cancer treatment ends, but some can last much longer or even emerge later.
Most people are able to slowly increase exercise time and intensity. What may be a low- or moderate-intensity activity for a healthy person may seem like a high-intensity activity for some cancer survivors.
Keep in mind that moderate exercise is defined as activity that takes as much effort as a brisk walk.
When you are living disease-free or with stable disease During this phase, physical activity is important to your overall health and quality of life. It may even help some people live longer. More research is needed to be sure about these possible benefits. The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors take these actions: Take part in regular physical activity.
Avoid inactivity and return to normal daily activities as soon as possible after diagnosis. Aim to exercise at least minutes per week. Include strength training exercises at least 2 days per week. A growing number of studies have looked at the impact of physical activity on cancer recurrence and long-term survival.
Cancer recurrence is cancer that comes back after treatment. Exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, body composition, fatigue, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, happiness, and several quality of life factors in cancer survivors.Exercise can lower your risk of breast cancer coming back, as well as help you maintain a healthy weight, ease treatment side effects, boost your energy, and more!
Read about the many ways exercise is . Finally, exercise helps control weight -- a crucial factor, as studies have shown that gaining weight during and after treatment raises the risk of a cancer recurrence, particularly for breast.
An exercise plan which fits your personality, lifestyle, and health and fitness goals is an important part of breast cancer survivorship. As you move past treatment and into survivorship, you will want to consider the benefits of each type, and develop a fitness plan that works for you.
If you didn’t exercise before your diagnosis, you may have issues unrelated to breast cancer treatment that may limit your exercise such as limited leg mobility or weak abdominal muscles.
The stronger you are before surgery, the quicker and more efficiently you can recover from it. Breast Cancer Survivors: Nutrition and Fitness Tips. Eat foods that are cancer-protective to help prevent a recurrence, and get back into exercise to lose extra pounds. Try these tested and proven suggestions for integrating fitness into your treatment plan every step of the way.
During Treatment: Stay Energized Breaking a sweat boosts energy, emotional resilience, and physical strength--all of which you need during breast cancer treatment.