There are three basic types of exercise:
- Aerobic Exercise: increases your heart rate, works your muscles, and makes you breathe faster and harder
- Flexibility Exercise: may include stretching, foam rolling, yoga, tai chi, and Pilates
- Strength/Resistance Exercise: may involve barbells and weight plates or dumbbells
Examples of each type of exercise are in this section, as well as the benefits it offers, the equipment you’ll probably need, and where you can do it. The ideal exercise program contains all three types, plus warm-up and cool-down sessions. That may sound like a lot, but after you have your doctor’s approval to start exercising, you can start slowly and gently and then gradually extend the time you work out.
According to an exercise survey Breastcancer.org did October through November 2011, quite a few of our visitors -- 82% of respondents -- walk for exercise. Other top exercise choices were weight lifting (35%), cycling (29%), yoga (28%), and running (23%).
If you’re starting a new exercise program after breast cancer surgery, adding any additional aerobics to your routine can potentially overwork the arm on the surgery side. For example, if you start an exercise program designed specifically for breast cancer survivors, wait to use an elliptical machine, play tennis, do cross-country skiing, or anything else that works your arm until your arm is stronger. It may be too much right after surgery.