Sports & Exercise as it Relates to Breast Cancer Survivors

Sports & Exercise as it Relates to Breast Cancer SurvivorsCancer patients often wonder whether or not they should be exercising after being treated for cancer. Some people believe that exercise helps cancer patients, while others believe they should be more restful.

One research study (1) looked into the effect of exercise and sports in patients suffering from breast cancer. They combined the results of 51 other studies that evaluated the physiological and psychological effects that exercise had on these breast cancer survivors. They found that sports and exercise were safe to undergo in breast cancer survivals and that they uniformly did better about their physical and mental health.

With this data, they concluded that breast cancer patients should be encouraged to exercise after their treatment for cancer.

Source: 1. Battaglini, CL, et al. Twenty-five years of research on the effects of exercise training in breast cancer survivors: A systematic review of the literature. World J Clin Oncol. 2014 May 10; 5(2): 177–190.

Dr. Adem Gunes Dr. Adem Gunes has built the world’s largest database of scientifically tested natural substances with proven effects in cancer treatments. In 2009, he was appointed as the Chief Physician of ProLife Clinic in Innsbruck, Austria, and played a key role in the establishment of the research laboratory. He is also the co-founder of the first Austrian hyperthermia center. Now, Dr. Adem works closely with cancer patients from around the world (including Germany, Thailand, Dubai) to recommend them a complementary cancer clinic or to create a personalized care plan for patients to follow at home.

Exercise – Important For The Breast Cancer Recovery Process

Exercise for Breast Cancer RecoveryLack of exercise is not what caused your cancer, so relax. If that were the case, the cancer rates would be so much larger. However, EXERCISE is very important to the recovery process and is also helpful in bringing the best attitude forward for the healing process. Coming eyeball to eyeball with cancer changes the perspective of quality of life. Thus, most of us are willing to do things for our own good in ways that we were not willing to before. Some of us love to EXERCISE and can’t wait to get to the gym or on our mountain bike. Others of us hate EXERCISE and have to be forced into doing it. I would wager that those of us who hate EXERCISE are EXERCISING for the wrong reasons and doing particular EXERCISES that we hate. So there are two goals here. First, discover an exercise you like or can tolerate because you feel good afterward. Second, set up your goal for your success.

If you are still in treatment your energy is lower but sitting or staying in bed all day only causes the toxins to build up. Walk for 10 minutes, or try walking 5 minutes a few times a day. Stretch. Lie in bed and move your body gently. Breathe. Yes, breathing is a form of exercise and Breast Cancer Yoga has a wonderful breathing CD. As you begin feeling better try Breast Cancer Yoga’s exercises for Yoga that are designed just for you, gentle lymphatic stretching. Get out of the house if even to just sit on the porch. Being outside moves your cells and allows them to enjoy fresh air versus the stale air from your AC or furnace. Listen to music and imagine yourself dancing to it and then gently move your muscles as if your muscles are dancing.

Post-treatment allow yourself to build up to 30 minutes of exercise a day. Start by doing 15 minutes, five days a week, then increase to two days for 3O minutes and continue to build up from there. Even though the lack of EXERCISE did not cause your cancer, let me be clear, EXERCISE, whether you like it or not, is important to your health. Thus, establish an EXERCISE habit as soon as possible after treatment so that it becomes a part of your new healthy lifestyle. The only rule needed is to EXERCISE at least thirty minutes a day whether you like it or not. The simplest way is to walk. Other than a good pair of shoes, walking EXERCISE does not require anything else and almost everyone can do it. If you can’t walk, then you need to discover other ways to EXERCISE. Stretching is a good choice and it does not require any fancy equipment. Yoga is also a great choice because it allows your body to detox the lymph system allowing those mutant cells to keep moving out of your body rather than getting stagnant and begin to build new tumors. Learning to make EXERCISE a part of your daily routine is a very important part of self-care. The goal is to EXERCISE more days a week than not. EXERCISE will help you stay flexible and healthy as you age. It is simple. The only goal is to do it. Don’t do it to lose weight, do it because you love yourself and because you are important.

Family members, it is not only important that you support your family member in an EXERCISE routine but that you too stay healthy by finding an EXERCISE activity that you enjoy and get out there and do it. Making EXERCISE a family affair will make it something fun and something to look forward to.

Last, when you get bored, change it out. If you get sick and can’t for a few days, get right back out there. If you miss a day, dance inside for 15 minutes anyway. MOVE your body as much as you can everyday.

Featured Photo Source: St. Louis Dispatch

Dr. Robin DilleyDr. Robin B. Dilley, author of In A Moment’s Notice: A Psychologist’s Journey with Breast Cancer is a licensed psychologist in the State of Arizona. Her eclectic practice allows her to cross diagnostic barriers and meet clients in their need assisting them to respond to life in healthy and empowering ways rather than react to life’s circumstances.

Choose An Exercise Program That Is Right For You!

Exercise Program For Breast Cancer

By: Rika Keck, Medical Exercise Specialist For Women’s Wellness.

It is well known that an exercise program is supportive before, during and after surgery and treatment. Off course it is essential to see it within context of the individual, medical procedures, reaction to meds and energy levels.

Moderation is a big key and it is a great idea to work-out and to ‘work-in’ with quiet, stress reducing modalities such as meditation, Gentle Yoga, Qi Gong or a walk in Nature.

Here are a few points regarding exercise during and post-surgery and/or treatment:

  • Strength training will support bone integrity that becomes compromised with chemo and steroids. Discuss this with your physician if lymph nodes are affected in your cancer treatment or lymphodema in the arm is present.
  • A moderate/low intensity cardio program will support a healthy heart, circulation and mood – a mild sweat is a good guideline. Do wipe off the sweat so it does not re-enter the body, after all, the skin is an organ of elimination. (While undergoing radiation treatment, do discuss this with your doctor, as there are restrictions.)
  • Clothing might present some challenges. Make comfortable and organic cotton choices that allow free movement and airflow.
  • Physical therapy, post-therapy exercise will provide ROM (range of motion) as incisions start to heal. You want to avoid restrictions in movement to prevent secondary shoulder, wrist, neck and back problems. The process of regaining full range of motion after surgery does take time.
  • Acupuncture on the scares and adhesions is a good idea as scars can disrupt the nervous system. At the same time it will boost immune function and provide stress reduction. It is necessary to wait for healing of the skin.
  • Fatigue must be respected – yet a gentle exercise program will actually increase energy and support lymphatic flow.
  • Posture exercises: With the physical, emotional and psychological trauma, it is ‘normal’ to pull inwards in a protective manner esp. after surgery. Awareness and gentle exercises that pay attention to good posture will support the physical body and energetic flow between organs and glands.
  • Social support and laughter are so important. If possible seek out a fun, nurturing and safe environment. Uplifting music does help too!
  • Radiation adversely affects heart and lung health. (I am aware that this is a controversial point.) The bottom line is: Do support your cardiovascular system.

When it is cold outside, we must make sure to get our daily movement. Certainly there is nothing more refreshing and immune – stimulating than taking a brisk walk outside! However, trying to maneuver icy pavements or paths in Central Park can be challenging and this does increase the risk of falling.

I believe in ‘risk assessment’: Exercise regularly and moderately, but in a safe and fun environment.

Basic Facts: Let’s Talk About Exercise, Heart Health & Nutrition!
For bone health, esp. in menopause, it is important to add ‘stress’ on the bones. Walking is great, but it is not enough to facilitate sufficient bone stress and remodeling of bone. Walking does support a healthy cardiovascular system, lymphatic drainage and detoxification – besides burning off those Holiday treats…

Resistance training is essential to support stronger bones, especially if one has a genetically predetermined small frame. It is not about lifting heavy weights ‘a la Schwarzenegger’ and one generally does not ‘bulk up’ easily – a concern I still hear about today. Weight training for healthy bones is about a regular ‘overload’ on the connective tissue. If you carry your own shopping bags twice a week, you are doing your bones (but maybe not your back) a favor!

As a Nutrition and Exercise Specialist, I do stress that bones must be supported with good nutrition and a regular weight – training exercise program. It is also helpful not to live on an adrenaline rush. The hormones, esp. elevated cortisol, will adversely affect the mineral metabolism and bone health.

Acid-blocking medications will affect the absorption of calcium and magnesium from foods. This can result in a calcium deficiency affecting bones and teeth, increasing the risk of fractures and cavities. If you are using acid blocking meds, you are welcome to connect with me to discuss your options.

As we age, our tendons are more at risk, esp. if we have not been exposed to using weights or athletic movements. It is better to err on the side of caution by receiving expert guidance. Schedule a few sessions with a professional to get you going or join an exercise class with a good instructor. (Do your research!!!)

If there are pre-existing and additional physical restrictions e.g. joint concerns or joint replacements or other medical considerations, I would recommend starting up with the advice of an exercise professional. I have some clients, whom I meet for a few sessions to ‘get the ball rolling’.

Exercise movements that are functional and support balance training should be incorporated. Core training, stability and flexibility training must also be part of the program. All will support activities of daily living. As we age, generally it is the lack of flexibility and muscle tissue that can predispose us to a greater risk of injury, falls and decreased function.

Heart Health?
Despite all we hear about cancer, it is important to note that heart disease is still the #1 killer of men and women. Certainly, many factors play a role. However, do consider that the heart is a muscle and it needs to be kept strong with regular and continuous exercise.

Heart health requires good nutrition and regular exercise. Various medications will rob nutrients from the heart, brain and body. These nutrients include vitamins such as vitamin A, B, C, and minerals such as magnesium, zinc, calcium and CoQ10 and more…All are essential to maintain a healthy heart. If you are on medications, you would want to consider the possibility of medication induced vitamin/mineral deficiency. Chronic stress, living on an adrenaline charge and lack of sleep affects heart health adversely. Exercise is a great stress-reducing modality – but do make sure you rest too and do not over-exercise esp. cardio training!

What Else?
From a mind body perspective, integration of Yoga or other stress – reducing techniques incl. mediation are terrific.
Pilates is very popular too and it is very helpful for flexibility and reduced joint stress.

What matters most?
Choose an exercise program that is right for you!
Choose an exercise program that suits your needs, is effective and does not create pain. Sure, a little sore muscle here and there after strength work will let you now that you made ‘communication’ – your bones will be happy. What can happen with strength training is ‘Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)’. This happens within 24-48 hrs.

Before starting on an exercise program, do check in with your physician if you are on medications and/or have health concerns. Should you have had surgery, it is best to receive ‘clearance’ from the doc before starting to exercise.

In the meantime, let’s keep walking, healing and smiling!

Rika KechRika Keck is a nutrition, fitness women’s wellness consultant and contributor for Breast Cancer Authority Blog
Customized Nutrition, Medical Exercise Specialist and Women’s Wellness
NY Integrated Health
www.NYIntegratedHealth.com

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