Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Start (or re-start) Exercising following Breast Cancer Treatment
By Beth Ann Dice, Certified Cancer Exercise Specialist and Breast Cancer Recovery BOSU® Specialist
Breast cancer can be a life-changing experience, with the journey of treatment and recovery taking a physical and emotional toll. As a certified Cancer Exercise Specialist and Breast Cancer Recovery BOSU® Specialist, I can tell you that one of the most powerful tools for regaining your physical and emotional well-being is exercise. While it’s essential to follow your medical team’s advice and guidelines, incorporating exercise into your post-treatment life can offer numerous benefits. Here are the top five reasons why you should start or re-start exercising following breast cancer treatment:
- Enhance Your Energy Level:
One of the most common side effects of breast cancer treatment is fatigue. Exercise can be your ally in overcoming this fatigue. Engaging in physical activity helps increase your energy levels by improving your overall physical condition. By stretching tight muscles and strengthening weaker ones, you can alleviate tension and promote better circulation, which, in turn, boosts your vitality.
- Improve Posture and Range of Motion:
Following breast cancer treatment, many individuals experience physical discomfort and a reduction in their range of motion, especially in the upper body. Through stretching and movement exercises specifically designed to address these issues, you can regain your flexibility and improve your posture. These exercises target areas affected by surgery or radiation therapy, helping you feel more comfortable and confident in your own body.
- Strengthen Core Stabilizers:
The abdominal and lower back muscles are often overlooked, but they play a critical role in overall physical stability. These core muscles support the spine, facilitate proper posture, and help prevent injuries. Targeted exercises and dynamic movements can strengthen these muscles, providing you with a more robust foundation and improved overall strength. Certain types of reconstruction can have a significant impact on your core strength as well.
- Enhance Your Quality of Life:
Breast cancer treatment takes a toll not only on your body but also on your mental and emotional well-being. Regular exercise can significantly impact your quality of life. It releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones, which can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. Additionally, staying active can help you maintain a positive outlook on life and boost your self-esteem, all of which contribute to better mental and physical health.
- Physical and Mental Conditioning:
Exercising post-treatment is about more than just getting in shape; it’s about conditioning your body and mind for a healthier future. Cancer survivors who incorporate exercise into their daily routines often find themselves better equipped to face life’s challenges. They develop resilience, mental strength, and a renewed sense of purpose, all of which can lead to a more fulfilling and optimistic life.
Breast cancer recovery is a journey that goes beyond the medical treatments. Exercise, when approached with guidance from a certified specialist, can be a powerful tool to regain physical and emotional well-being. By enhancing your energy, improving posture, increasing range of motion, strengthening core stabilizers, and enhancing your overall quality of life, exercise can help you face the future with confidence. So, why wait? It’s time to take the first step towards a healthier, happier you.
During recovery a Cancer Exercise Specialist is the perfect next step once physical therapy has been completed. CES’s are trained to identify muscle imbalances and range of motion limitations and how they can be corrected through the proper combination of stretching and strengthening. This is of critical importance following mastectomy, radiation, and reconstruction which may all result in painful and functionally limiting scar tissue and adhesions. They also assess one’s core and balance and can help to manage the difficulties that arise with neuropathy while helping to prevent osteoporosis. Long-term side-effects of treatment may include damage to the heart and lungs, future cancers, diabetes, lymphedema, and osteoporosis; all of which can be minimized or prevented with the proper exercise “prescription.’
I’m your partner in your breast cancer recovery. Call me today at 315-887-1182 to schedule your complimentary assessment.