Pilates and yoga suggested for survivors?

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Question from Gail: Are Pilates and yoga good forms of exercise for breast cancer survivors?
Answers - Miriam Nelson I'd say that any exercise is good for breast cancer survivors. The exercise that you are going to enjoy the most and stick with the most is probably the best exercise that you can do. When you talk about being more specific about the benefits, yoga, tai chi, and Pilates are all helpful for women, whether you're a breast cancer survivor or not, because they help with strength and flexibility especially at the core, the abdominal and back muscles. Women tend to be weaker than men in these areas, so these types of exercise are excellent. The only thing I'd add is that if you have particular issues, i.e. lymphedema, you need to be a little more cautious.
Julie Gralow, M.D. I would just add that I like the strength building of yoga and Pilates. Having done some of this myself, I know you can get major benefits. When my patients enroll in a program when they're doing this twice a week for eight weeks, they always feel stronger at the end.
Judith Sachs As a teacher of tai chi, I want to put in a plug for that. Arms are held in the air as the body moves, and it's wonderful because there's no resistance to anything except the air. For somebody recovering from upper body surgery, it's a non-dynamic way to learn to use the arms again.

The Ask-the-Expert Online Conference called Physical Activity and Breast Cancer featured Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., Julie Gralow, M.D., and moderator Judith Sachs answering your questions about the many issues related to physical activity and breast cancer.

Editor's Note: This conference took place in January 2006.

The materials presented in these conferences do not necessarily reflect the views of Breastcancer.org. A qualified healthcare professional should be consulted before using any therapeutic product or regimen discussed. All readers should verify all information and data before employing any therapies described here.

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