5 Exercises You Can Do During Breast Cancer Treatment
How You Can Stay Active While Undergoing Treatment
Many doctors recommend exercise for breast cancer patients, saying this is a great way for them to remain healthy while undergoing treatment. Time and time again, exercise has been proven to bring health benefits to those going through chemotherapy. Many breast cancer survivors often talk about how exercise, even the simplest ones, played a crucial role in their recovery.
Keeping your body in motion, no matter how little you move, is a big step in overcoming treatment, its side effects, and cancer itself. Not only does exercise provide healing and physical benefits to your body, but it can also improve your mental and emotional well-being. The American Cancer Society reports that exercising regularly throughout your chemo period will provide the following benefits:
- Exercising will help ease the side effects of treatment, such as nausea and fatigue.
- It keeps your muscles from wasting due to inactivity,
- Improves your balance, and lowers your risk of falling and suffering broken bones.
- It improves blood circulation in your legs, reducing the risk of blood clots.
- It relieves stress and anxiety.
- It elevates your mood and keeps you sane.
- It lowers the risk of heart disease.
- It lowers the risk of osteoporosis.
- It makes you less dependent on others for help with normal activities.
- It enhances your quality of life.
What to Remember Before Starting Your Exercise Program
Before you begin, make sure that your doctor gives you the go signal. Explain your exercise plan and ask about any possible limitations. Your exercise plan should include any training program you already follow, what you can do now, and any physical problems you have.
While you can make and follow your own exercise program, it’s always better to enlist the assistance of a coach, physical therapist, or even a physiologist. These trained professionals can help you find the types of exercise that will work best for you. They will tell you how often to perform them and how long you should work out.
If you frequently exercised before treatment, you might have to lower the intensity of your workouts this time. Your goal is to keep your body as strong as possible during treatment. On the other hand, if you’ve never been into an active lifestyle, you might need to start with short, low-intensity activities, such as slow walks.
Whether you’re new to the fitness scene or not, your cancer care team should be able to come up with a program tailor-made to meet your needs and interests. Keep them posted on how you’re doing in terms of your activity level throughout your treatment.
The 5 Exercises You Can Do During Treatment
A safe and effective exercise program for breast cancer patients should have various types of exercises, such as the following:
1. Breathing exercises
It’s not uncommon for cancer-stricken individuals to experience shortness of breath, which is one of the reasons that keep them from being active. That is why it’s strongly recommended that you start your program with some breathing exercises. These exercises can help move air in and out of your lungs, improving your endurance.
Diaphragmatic breathing is one key breathing exercise you can incorporate. It strengthens the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, allowing more air to move in and out of your lungs with less tiring of the chest muscles. It also helps regulate your breathing if you run out of breath while performing an exercise or activity.
To do this properly, follow these steps:
- While standing up or sitting down, place your hand on your abdomen.
- Inhale through your nose as you push your abdomen out gently. The hand on your abdomen should move outward, allowing your diaphragm to lower. This increases lung capacity.
- Slowly exhale through pursed lips, while pushing the hand placed on your abdomen inward and upward. As you exhale all your air, imagine pressing your navel to your spine.
- Fill your lungs with air by inhaling slowly through your nose. Repeat the exercise a few times a day.
Besides improving your posture and flexibility, stretching helps increase the flow of blood and oxygen to your muscles, and it helps the body repair itself. Regular stretching is especially helpful for individuals who have been inactive while recovering from cancer treatments, such as radiation therapy, which can limit your range of motion and cause your muscles to tighten. It can also help break down scar tissue from surgery.
3. Balance exercise
Neuropathy, a condition where your feet become numb, is one of the side effects of chemotherapy. As a result, you may find it difficult to maintain proper balance, which is why it’s a good idea to incorporate balance exercises into your program.
Balance training helps regain the mobility and movement you need to return to your daily activities. It also decreases the risk of falling by improving your ability to maintain and control your body’s position whether you’re in motion or not.
The exercises below will help you improve your balance and lower body strength. During the first few days, you might want to hold a chair for support. As you progress, you can try holding it with one hand or even just a finger. Your goal is to perform these exercises without holding the chair at all.
- Stand on one foot. Hold for 10 seconds before switching legs.
- Heel or calf raises. Stand in place and slowly raise each heel or calf up and down.
- Leg lifts or raises. Stand in place, then lift your leg to the front, back, and side.
- Place your heel in front of the toe of your other foot as if you’re walking a tightrope.
- Step sideways while crossing one foot in front of the other. Next, cross the foot in the back of the other.
4. Aerobic exercise
Aerobic or cardio training strengthens your heart and lungs. It can also help you feel less tired while undergoing treatment. Examples include walking, jogging, cycling, dancing, or any activity that increases your heart rate.
Low-intensity training is a safe way to begin. You can start by walking around your house, taking a quick rest before walking again. Once you become more and more confident, increase your pace. You can also increase your activity over time, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking further away than usual.
According to the CDC, you should do at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous training. At first, you may easily get tired and only be able to work out for a short amount of time. However, by being consistent and patient, your efforts will pay off.
5. Strength training
Muscle loss normally occurs in people who remain inactive during cancer treatment and recovery. Some treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemo, can weaken the muscles.
With strength or resistance training, you’ll be able to regain your muscle mass, and eventually build stronger muscles as you continue. Increasing muscle mass can also reduce fatigue and improve your balance, making it easier to perform daily activities.
A strength training program typically includes weights, resistance bands, exercise machines, and the use of your own body weight. Be sure to ask your doctor first before you start training.
Support Your Fellow Cancer-Stricken Women
As you get going to beating breast cancer, other patients are only left hoping to get financial assistance so they can receive proper treatment. You can help turn their hope into reality by simply donating an unwanted vehicle here at Breast Cancer Car Donations.
We’ll place your automobile up for sale, with the proceeds going to our charity partners. These are IRS-approved 501(c)(3) nonprofits that provide comprehensive breast health services to individuals who need them.
Thanks to your generous gift, the uninsured breast cancer patients in your community will finally gain easy access to medical facilities where they can undergo full treatment as well as financial aid to cover the costs of their medical expenses. Other beneficiaries will get to receive free breast cancer screening, prevention, and education services.
Being a donor means getting the maximum tax deduction that your gift will entitle you to claim in the next tax season. We’ll send you the 100% tax-deductible sales receipt of your vehicle several days after it gets sold.
You can also take advantage of our free pickup and towing service, which is available to our donors in all parts of the U.S.
More valuable than these perks is the priceless feeling of joy and satisfaction you’ll experience after giving away something that can help save lives.
Almost all types of vehicles are qualified for our donation program. They don’t even have to be in good condition.
Use Your Beater to Help Beat Breast Cancer Today
Give your unwanted automobile a new purpose that can save lives by donating it to us at Breast Cancer Car Donations. Call 866-540-5069 or fill out our online donation form now!