Exercise and Cancer Management: Safe Exercise


Exercise and Cancer Management: Safe Exercise

Exercise has numerous advantages for patients with breast cancer, but it's crucial to exercise carefully.

For those who have undergone treatment for breast cancer, some workouts, such as:

·      Lap swimming Heavy arm and shoulder work may not be an issue for some people, but it may be for others. If you enjoy swimming a lot, you might want to try swimming laps with your arms supported by a kickboard or another floating object.

·       Resistance band use. You can't tell how much resistance is being produced when you pull on a resistance band. To make sure it isn't too strenuous for you, start with the lightest resistance band.

·       Exercising with your own body weight, such as push-ups and pull-ups. It might be challenging to gauge how much weight you are shifting because doing so could strain your arms and shoulders. Working with a trainer to determine whether and how to adapt these exercises is a smart idea.

·       Doing yoga positions like downward dog and inversions. The weight of these stances can be too much for the arms. There are yoga instructors who have received specialised training in working with clients who have had breast cancer treatment. They can offer alternate positions and progressions for downward dogs and inversions.

·       Playing tennis, cross-country skiing, and using elliptical and cross-training devices. You may wish to exercise your arm on the side of your surgical arm with caution if you're starting a new workout regimen not long after breast cancer surgery. For instance, you might want to wait until your arm is stronger before utilising a cross-training machine, playing tennis, or engaging in any other activity that exercises your arm at the same time if you begin an exercise programme intended expressly for breast cancer survivors. You might be able to progressively include other activities that work out the arms if you've been following the exercise regimen for about a month.

Inactivity and lymphedema

After having breast cancer surgery, you may be more susceptible to developing lymphedema, which is an enlargement of the soft tissues in the arm, hand, trunk, or breast that can also result in numbness, discomfort, and occasionally infection.

Some people, including medical professionals, worry that strength training, namely lifting weights, can cause lymphedema. However, other people, including medical professionals, believe that the advantages of exercise, especially weight lifting, when done appropriately and carefully exceed the risks.

The PAL experiment examined the advantages of weight lifting for survivors and discovered that very modest weights at first, followed by gradually greater weights, may be preferable to not exercising a breast cancer-affected arm at risk for lymphedema. According to the results of the PAL experiment, women who adhered to the weight lifting regimen were stronger, had a better perception of their bodies, and had less body fat. Additionally, women who adhered to the weightlifting programme and had lymphedema at the beginning of the PAL trial had a 50% lower risk of the condition getting worse.

Exercise safety measures you can take

Obtain the go-ahead from your surgeon and primary care physician. It's crucial to talk to both your primary care physician and your breast surgeon about the workouts you intend to perform. Ask them if there are any motions you should refrain from performing or if the range of motion they require should be reduced. It's an excellent idea to talk about:

·       to see if any of the medications you're taking could interfere with your ability to exercise.

·       any additional medical conditions you may have, such as osteoporosis or asthma, to determine if they could interfere with your ability to exercise.

Take any essential safety measures. Speak with a lymphedema specialist about any measures you should think about taking if you have lymphedema or if you are extremely concerned about getting it. Wearing protective gloves or a well-fitting compression garment are two possible safeguards. Stop immediately and consult your doctor or a lymphedema expert if something doesn't feel right. To find out about their suggested precautions, you may also read the National Lymphedema Network's Position Paper on Exercise.

Make sure to warm up. It's vital to warm up by walking for five to ten minutes before engaging in any form of exercise. When you warm up, it's a good idea to incorporate a comprehensive flexibility routine so you can stretch all the key muscle groups.

Make sure to move forward gradually. Expect a slow improvement. Every person, every case of breast cancer, and every treatment strategy are unique. Never compare your achievements to those of others or to your capabilities prior to receiving a breast cancer diagnosis. Give yourself the space you require to recuperate and develop your strength, flexibility, and health.

Put form first. Better than holding a stretch longer or performing more repetitions of an exercise is the perfect technique. Even if it means performing less, the form should be impeccable. It is therefore preferable to hold a stretch for 15 seconds with excellent form rather than for 30 seconds with the poor form if you can only hold it for 15 seconds without bending your knees or arm in an unnatural way.

If pain strikes, stop. If you have pain, adjust your form or make your motions smaller. If it still hurts, you might need to discuss changes with your physician, physical therapist, or professional personal trainer.

As needed, take a nap. Take a day off if you have a cold, an infection, or are really weary.

Make sure to cool down. After every workout, it's crucial to stretch out all the major muscle groups and cool down by walking for five to ten minutes.

Inform your instructor that you have received breast cancer treatment. No matter what kind of exercise you undertake, it's crucial to inform the trainer or certified personal trainer that you've had breast cancer treatment. If necessary, the teacher or personal trainer can demonstrate how to scale back any workouts or specific motions.

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