Exercising after breast cancer
Routine exercise is an essential element of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise can help people maintain healthy weights, reduce stress and lower their risk for various diseases.
After surviving breast cancer, many survivors wonder if it’s safe to return to the exercise regimens they followed prior to being diagnosed. Breast cancer survivors can benefit from exercise, but it’s important that they prioritize safety when working out.
Survivors who have had breast cancer surgery may be at risk of lymphedema, a condition characterized by swelling of the soft tissues of the arm, hand, trunk, or breast. That swelling is sometimes accompanied by discomfort and numbness, and some people dealing with lymphedema also experience infection.
Breastcancer.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing up-to-date information about breast cancer, notes that some exercise may be especially risky for breast cancer survivors. These exercises include: swimming laps using strokes with arm movements possible, or that it’s likely to take a while before you feel like your old self again. Take a gradual approach, allowing yourself to build strength and not expecting results to appear overnight. Emphasize form. Place a great emphasis on form when exercising after surviving breast cancer. Many breast cancer survivors undergo surgery as part of their treatments, but even those who did not should still prioritize proper form when exercising, even if it means lifting substantially less weight than you might have prior to your diagnosis. Don’t persist through pain. If you feel any pain upon returning to exercising, stop immediately and speak with your physician and surgeon prior to exercising again. Rest between sessions. You likely won’t be able to exercise on successive days anytime soon, but build off days into your routine so you can rest and recover.Exercising after surviving breast cancer can promote recovery, but survivors must be extra careful as they work to get back on track.