Regular exercise is an important part of being as healthy as you can be. More and more research is showing that exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back (recurrence) if you've been diagnosed, as well as reducing the risk of developing breast cancer if you’ve never been diagnosed.
Breastcancer.org visitors know how important exercise is. According to a survey we did in October and November 2011, 70% of people who answered the survey exercised regularly and 23% exercised less often. But they were still exercising!
A roundtable convened by the American College of Sports Medicine in 2010 reviewed available research and concluded that exercise is safe during and after all breast cancer treatments (as long as you take any needed precautions and keep the intensity low) and improves physical functioning, quality of life, and cancer-related fatigue. There also is evidence that exercise can help breast cancer survivors live longer and lead a more active life.
In this section, you can read about the benefits of exercise for people diagnosed with breast cancer, types of exercise, and when you can exercise, both during and after treatment.
- Why Exercise?
- Exercise can lower your risk of breast cancer coming back, as well as help you maintain a healthy weight, ease treatment side effects, boost your energy, and more! Read about the many ways exercise is good for you.
- Exercise Safely
- Learn how to start exercising safely by following these nine steps.
- Finding an Exercise Trainer
- If you’re planning to do strength training, you may want to work out with a certified trainer or therapist who has experience working with breast cancer survivors. Learn how to find one in your area and the questions to ask before you sign a contract.
- Types of Exercise
- Read about the three types of exercise -- aerobic, strength/resistance, and flexibility -- and learn why you need to do each. There’s also information on intensity levels and how to measure how intense your exercise is.
- Exercise During and After Treatment
- Research shows that it’s safe to exercise during all types of breast cancer treatment, as long as you take certain precautions and keep the intensity low. Learn what you can do and when and how to stick to your exercise routine.
- How to Stick to an Exercise Routine
- After your initial enthusiasm wears off, use these tips recommended by other women and experts to stick to your routine.
- Exercise Resource Guide
- Browse a list of links to websites offering information on exercise for breast cancer survivors, including warm-up and stretching exercises.
- Exercise Testimonials
- Read about what motivates other women diagnosed with breast cancer to stick to their exercise plans, tips they use to get moving even when they don’t want to, and the moves that keep them glowing and fit.
Talk with others about their exercise plans, share ideas, and get inspiration on the Breastcancer.org Discussion Board Exercise and Getting Back in Shape forum.
The experts for Exercise are:
Linda T. Miller, P.T., D.P.T., C.L.T., clinical director of the Breast Cancer Physical Therapy Center, LTD. Dr. Miller specializes in treating post-operative complications of breast cancer surgery, including lymphedema, and also heads Recovery In Motion, LTD, a network of facilities that use Miller’s Recovery In Motion education and treatment program for breast cancer rehabilitation. Linda teaches continuing education programs nationally and has published several articles on post-operative breast cancer rehabilitation and breast cancer-related lymphedema.
Nancy J. Roberge, P.T., D.P.T., M.Ed., Legislative Chair of the Oncology Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. Dr. Roberge is the director of Chestnut Hill Physical Therapy and focuses her work on helping women move through breast cancer diagnosis, recovery, and beyond, achieving the highest quality of life possible. She has developed a two-day comprehensive breast cancer rehabilitation course and teaches nationally and internationally.
Cathy Bryan, M.Ed., American College of Sports Medicine-certified Cancer and Exercise personal trainer. Cathy has more than 20 years of experience as a trainer for people with breast cancer and other diseases and was one of the authors of the PAL study, which looked at the effects of strength training on breast cancer survivors.