Exercise is not only safe for breast cancer survivors, but it can also improve overall health and long-term survivorship. The American Cancer Society recommends that cancer survivors engage in 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, along with at least 2 strength-training sessions each week. A good exercise program will help to reduce the side effects of surgery and treatments. These side effects can include fatigue, neuropathy, decreased range of motion, weakness, lymphedema, and a significant emotional toll. Once you start to exercise and have less pain, stiffness and more energy, you will be motivated to continue.
Before beginning a cancer exercise program, a cancer survivor must receive medical clearance. It is also important to understand the implications of your particular surgery and the corrective exercises needed to improve recovery.
Exercise may reduce the chance of recurrence, and it is therefore more important than ever to add exercise to your recovery plan. Physical activity during treatment can reduce common side effects such as fatigue, pain, nausea, depression or anxiety. Exercise helps you to clear your mind and find inner strength.
It is helpful to have both short term and long-term exercise goals. Goals should be able to be adapted to changes in work, health, and family situations. If you are new to exercise, select an activity and set an achievable goal. Slowly add exercise to your daily activities and find something that works with your lifestyle.
Weight gain is often a side effect of breast cancer. Being overweight has been linked to an increase in recurrence of breast cancer. Keeping up with an exercise routine will help survivors to maintain their weight and lose body fat.
I recommend survivors work with a cancer exercise specialist or a physical therapist that can design the best program for your unique situation. Check with your physician or other specialist tracking your survivorship care for recommendations on qualified exercise providers who can create a program based on your treatment plan and fitness level
Find programs, either individual or small group, that will help you to achieve your goals in a warm, friendly setting. The camaraderie and support of a small group can make taking care of your health enjoyable, fun and act a support group.
Contact www.CarolMichaelsFitness for information on working with a personal trainer or joining a small group exercise class for cancer survivors.
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