Breast Cancer Survivors Recovery Exercise Program
We create safe and effective exercise programs for breast cancer survivors
We assist breast cancer survivor patients in building confidence and regaining function through a specialized therapeutic exercise program offered under our care. We assess women’s needs and plan a safe and rehabilitative exercise program for woman undergoing treatment and post-treatment. We outline realistic and attainable exercise goals for survivors. We safely and effectively work different muscle groups affected by treatment and surgery and support your physical recovery.
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>> Contact us for a complimentary consultation: 949-378-4505
The Breast Cancer Survivor’s Fitness Plan
Reclaim Health, Regain Strength, Live Longer
A growing body of research strongly suggests engaging in exercise reduces your risk for a recurrence of breast cancer and boosts the likelihood of living a longer, healthier life. What’s more, a well-conceived, comprehensive exercise program can help you minimize or avoid many other concerns that arise after breast cancer treatments and reconstructive surgery.
Laying the Foundation
While the breast cancer survivor’s fitness plan revolves around a series of progressive exercise workouts, there are three other cornerstones of the plan: healthy diet, rest and stress relief.
- Optimize longevity
- Gain energy
- Improve mobility
- Rebuild muscle and regain strength
- Keep bones healthy
- Quell treatment-related nausea
- Enhance appearance
Healthy Diet: Eating well gives your body the energy and nutrients needed for healing, a process that continues after treatment ends.
- Make healthy foods available
- Read labels carefully, and make trade-offs that net you fewer calories and healthier fats
- Eat mindfully
- Don’t confuse thirst for hunger
- Tune in to emotional cravings, and have a plan in place for moments when emotional hunger strikes
Rest: Sleep can be derailed for many reasons, so consider which of the following solutions and strategies apply to you.
- Ease hot flashes
- Set the stage for sleep
- Try to calm unsettling emotions
- Practice good sleep habits
Stress Relief: Research suggests that stress suppresses the immune system. Chronic stress boosts blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Relieving stress through relaxation techniques can ease or erase many of these effects. Finding your balance and lowering your stress level during and after treatment is essential for your well-being.
- Set aside relaxation time (meditation, etc.)
- Think short and sweet
- Carve out time to enjoy yourself (movies, reading, etc.)
- Get the help you need/seek support
Creating a Team
Just as it took a team of dedicated professionals to coordinate your treatment, you will need an equally dedicated team to help you with your fitness plan. Your health care team may consist of:
- Physical therapist: Particularly if you have had reconstructive surgery, a mastectomy, or lymph node surgery
- Personal trainer: In addition to helping you understand correct form and positioning, a good trainer also acts as a coach, motivator and cheerleader.
- Massage therapist: Professional massage helps relax muscles and soothes aches and pains, which can extend range of motion.
- Lymphedema therapist: Lymphedema is a swelling of the arm due to the backup of lymph, and may occur after surgery or radiation. A certified lymphedema therapist can help relieve this condition.
- Friends and family: Enlisting others can pace the way for you to find to time to exercise and boost your resolve to do so.
Pounds, Muscles and Bones
It is frustrating, yet true, that the very anticancer treatments that save lives can further compromise good health by affecting your weight, muscles and bones.
- The bottom line: improving survival
- Decreasing circulating estrogen
- Minimizing risk for lymphedema
- Outliving breast cancer, decreasing risks for other conditions
- Balance calories in with calories out.
- Eat thoughtfully.
- Start moving.
- Reduce an estrogen source
- Lower circulating estrogens
- Rebuild strength and protect against falls
- Help burn calories
- Tone muscles, enhance appearance
- Shift your body composition: Lose fat tissue and build muscle tissue.
- Combine your efforts.
- Stay the course.
- Premature bone loss
- Higher risk of fracture
- Medication side effects
- Lone-term outlook
- Have bone density testing done.
- Get enough calcium and vitamin D.
- Engage in weight-bearing exercise.
- Fix falling hazards.
- Discuss bone-saving medications with our doctor.
When lymph fluid backs up because lymph node surgery or radiation has altered lymph channels, mild to severe swelling occurs. Lymphedema can be very uncomfortable and may become a chronic problem. At one time, doctors routinely advised women to avoid heavy lifting and repetitive moments with the affected arm.
Recently, however, researchers have begun to challenge this advice. In fact, rather that triggering lymphedema, some researchers theorize that progressive, properly performed exercises gradually widen remaining lymph channels, thereby improving the flow of lymph.
Reducing the Risk of Lymphedema
- Minimize risks, maximize quality of life.
- Care for your skin.
- Attend quickly to cuts, burns, scrapes, and scratches.
- Be aware of extremes (hot and cold)
- Keep lymph channels open
- Use compression appropriately
- Be prepared for air travel
- Alert health care providers: avoid IVs, blood pressure
- readings, blood draws, etc. on affected arm
- Take care of yourself: exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, getting sufficient rest and relaxation
Safety First: 10 Basic Principles of Safety
1. Get the go-ahead from your surgeon.
2. Take necessary precautions (esp. related to lymphedema).
3. Warm up.
4. Follow the sequence of exercises as demonstrated by your trainer.
5. Proceed slowly. Expect slow, gradual improvement.
6. Balance both sides of your body. Use same weight on both sides; let your weaker side determine weight.
7. Focus on quality, not quantity. Use good form.
8. Always stop if you feel pain. Re-adjust to find pain-free range of motion. Ask doctor if pain persists.
9. Take time off, if necessary. If you have a fever or feel fatigued, skip your exercise session for the day.
10. Cool down.
ALWAYS obtain your surgeon’s permission before you start any new exercise program. Review the exercises you plan to do and discuss any limitations.