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Benefits of Exercises to Fight Breast Cancer

Benefits of Exercises to Fight Breast Cancer

Surviving Breast Cancer or undergoing treatment is no easy feat. It is mentally and physically taxing, and to alleviate some of these Cancer Treatment side-effects, many doctors recommend moderate levels of physical activity. Yes, the idea of exercising during and after treatment can be unappealing, but believe it or not, scientific research shows a significant improvement in mental health and Fatigue levels in cancer patients due to regular exercise.

Physical activity does not have to mean running a marathon (although you can if you want to) or hitting the gym. During your cancer treatment, even the smallest movement can help you. Most patients prefer to do gentle exercises like walking or dancing. Regardless of the physical activity you choose, be sure to consult your cancer care provider before starting anything.

Why should you exercise while undergoing Breast Cancer treatment?

  • Exercise improves overall health

Regular exercise not only helps you stay physically strong but also gives you mental strength throughout your treatment and afterward. With studies showing an increase of heart fitness and happiness quotient in surviving patients, exercise is proven to have a holistic positive effect on cancer patients. Moreover, it gives one a sense of control over the situation, which in itself can contribute greatly to the mental health of the survivor. Regular physical activity has also proven to reduce the tiredness and Fatigue that patients experience during and after their Cancer Treatment.

  • Exercise may help prevent a recurrence

A recent study conducted with over 5000 Breast Cancer survivors shows a correlation between regular physical activity and the low risk of recurrence. After treatment, especially hormonal therapy, women find themselves gaining weight. Being obese and overweight generally increases the risk of being diagnosed with cancer and its recurrence after treatment. Exercise helps survivors to maintain a healthy body post-treatment.

What are some of the fun exercises you can do during and after treatment?

After the conclusion of Breast Cancer treatment, one can generally start exercising and increasing the intensity over time with approval from doctors. However, partaking in low-intensity and light physical activity during the treatment is beneficial to keep you going.

Here are some fun and light exercise you can do during and after treatment:

  • Walking

Walking is a gentle exercise that you can customize according to your ability and goals. If you do not work out regularly, it is easy to incorporate walking into your daily life by parking your car a little far than usual or getting off at a bus stop before yours. The best way to approach is to set a daily or weekly goal and gradually push your limits by increasing the distance or duration. However, if you feel up to it, you can complement walking with some other aerobic and resistance exercises like jogging, weight lifting, or isometric exercises.

  • Yoga

Patients can do light Yoga during any stage of their cancer journey. In many cases, Yoga helps with the risk of lymphedema and maintains flexibility and mental health. However, be mindful to choose mild poses over intense and complicated ones. Some of the recommended Yoga poses include cat-cow pose, seated side bend, fish pose, and belly breathing (diaphragmatic pranayama).

  • Pilates

A study published in 2017 conducted with 62 Breast Cancer survivors with lymphedema development concluded that those who performed pilates were found to have better upper-body functioning. The study also proclaimed pilates as a safe and gentle exercise for cancer patients and survivors. However, be sure to consult your cancer care provider before starting anything.

  • Tai Chi

Known as moving meditation due to the combination of breathing techniques and constant body movement, Tai Chi has been proven to help Breast Cancer patients with mental and physical health. In addition to increasing self-esteem and confidence in patients, gentle exercise also improves heart and lung functioning along with muscle strength.

  • Dancing

Although supportive studies with conclusive data are limited when it comes to the effect of dancing in Breast Cancer patients, it is a fun way to exercise and move your body. Dance forms like belly dancing, ballroom dancing, and Greek dancing have shown to improve the physical fitness of the patients along with body image. However, you do not have to practice these forms necessarily. Simply put on an upbeat song you like and move to the beats and tune as much as you can.

  • Bed and couch movements

When it comes to physical movement during cancer treatments, there are no right exercises one needs to do. On some of the worst days during the treatment, do not push yourself to walk or dance. Instead, you can do slight movements like sitting or laying on the bed or couch. A few suggested moves are punching the air, leg lifts, side bends, elbow winging, and shoulder blade stretch and squeeze.

Precautionary measures

  • Always make sure to consult your cancer care provider before taking up any exercise plan during your Breast Cancer treatment.
  • If you notice any deterioration in health after following any exercise routine, avoid doing it any further.
  • Exercises during Cancer Treatment should be done to the best of your abilities. Do not try to push yourselves beyond your limit.
  • Do not exercise without any coach or your cancer care provider. Take their help to indulge in the right form of exercises, with correct postures and breathing.

Breast Cancer Treatment sure does affect your body, but it certainly does not have to affect your mental health. Physical activity during and after treatment can help maintain Stress levels and improve body image issues. Therefore, under a doctor’s discretion, patients should opt for at least one physical activity.

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