Post Breast Cancer Exercise Guidelines
July 2012, a month that changed the outlook my family and I have on life forever. July 2012 is the month my wife was diagnosed with stage 1 breast cancer. After finding this news out we asked ourselves the same questions many people do. “Why us?”, “How did this happen? We exercise regularly and eat clean.”, We decided to look at our lifestyle and found places we could make adjustments that would help during her radiation treatments and what to do after to help prevent a re-occurrence.
I decided to get a certification titled: “Breast Cancer Recovery Exercise Program”. The knowledge I obtained from this program along with the information provided from Banner Desert Health Foundation and my friend and dietician Michelle Dudash enabled me to create a plan of action to help not only my family, but other families dealing with cancer, more specific breast cancer.
You had cancer and now you are in on the road to recovery or you know someone who is a survivor. First, congratulations! Secondly, make sure you have your doctor’s permission to resume activity (some of you may have worked out during treatments). I can also help with suggestion during treatment, but the purpose of this article is post.
1. Start slowly and light (especially in the upper body). Whether or not you had surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or any other form of treatment you have gone through a lot of stress and your upper body will most likely be tight and not as strong.
2. Focus on good posture. Movements that help with this work on your Rhomboids and Scapula “upper back” along with your medial and posterior deltoids (shoulders) and your core. The tightness from your treatments may cause you to round out your shoulders. The other thing I have found is you may be self conscious of whatever treatment you had which can lead to not “opening” your chest and shoulders. Incorporating exercises such as: bent over rear delts, wide grip pulldowns, lat raises, planks, etc… can help.
3. Stay positive. Realize you are strong beautiful woman who is a SURVIVOR! Remind yourself daily that you deserve to feel and look the way you want.
4. Choose exercises you enjoy doing. The key is to get you back into the swing of things, build up your confidence and get you feeling and looking the way you want. Choosing exercises that are effective and you like will help you stay on the plan.
5. Choose a realistic amount of times you can workout each week. I suggest 3-4 days of strength training, 1-2 days of Yoga, and 20-30 minutes of cardio 4 days a week for the intermediate to advanced. Beginners should do about ½ to start.
6. Track your progress. This will help you to visually see the strength gains you are making along with the physical changes that are occurring.
7. Hire a certified personal trainer (preferably one that specializes in this). Your trainer should be able to help you start out slowly, focus on good posture, work on your self esteem, choose the best exercises, set realistic guidelines and track your progress.
With all the above guidelines make sure you are safe and realize your body has changed and it may take you some time to feel “normal” again. When working out make sure you stay hydrated, dress comfortably, stretch daily, and workout with a trainer, friend and/or carry your cell phone on you.
Stop exercising immediately if you experience any of the following:
2. Swelling and/or pain in your joints
3. Chest pain
4. Unusual muscle pain. It is common to have soreness and tightness after exercise, but if the muscles “hurt” and feel strained or torn, stop!
5. Blurred vision.
6. Numbness and/or tingling