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Exercise & Breast Cancer

Once upon a time a diagnosis of cancer was a sentence for bed rest, but not anymore! Exercise and physical activity are now recognised as a crucial piece of the puzzle to increasing cancer survival rates.

It is estimated that in 2018 over 18,000 Australians will be diagnosed with breast cancer, the majority of whom will be female with an average age of 61 years. We here at The Movement Therapy Group are here to help you keep moving through each stage of your treatment and recovery to enable you to have the best quality of life possible.

Regardless of which stage you are at on the road from diagnosis to recovery, there is something you can do to keep moving regularly. You can start exercising at any time, but it is important to remember to start small and gradually increase your activity if you haven’t exercised for a while. The Breast Cancer Network Australia recommends women aim to achieve the Australian National Physical Activity Guidelines set out by the Department of Health and Aging. These guidelines encourage all adults to complete 150 minutes of exercise per week irrespective of age – you’re never too old to start!

By now I’m sure you are wondering what types of exercise are safe to complete if you have breast cancer? Walking is a fabulous way to start, as is cycling, aerobics or dance classes. Ultimately you should aim for your weekly exercise routine to include a combination of cardiovascular activities, such as walking, and strength training, think resistance exercises or Pilates. Before you start exercising you should speak to your Doctor and see an Exercise Physiologist to have a plan tailor made for you and your needs.

Thanks to ongoing research the list of known benefits for exercise during cancer treatment and recovery is continually growing. So far we know exercise can:

  • Maintain or improve bone mineral density and reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis, as some breast cancer therapies increase the risk of developing osteoporosis or weakened bones
  • Reduce the risk of developing lymphoedema
  • Maintain or improve shoulder range of movement
  • Improve treatment tolerance, including increasing the rate at which the planned chemotherapy dose can be delivered and reducing the need to decrease chemotherapy dosages
  • Improve mental wellbeing and reduce psychological distress
  • Maintain lean muscle mass and a healthy weight
  • Decrease cancer related fatigue and improve quality of sleep
  • Improve recovery from surgery
  • Reduce the risk of cancer recurrence
  • Improve ability to complete daily tasks
  • Reduce the risk of cancer mortality
  • Improve effectiveness of chemotherapy and reduce tumour growth

To gain these benefits exercise should be completed at a moderate intensity. Remember this is what you deem to be moderate and will vary for each individual and change over time. As a general rule during moderate intensity exercise you should feel slightly short of breath, like you can talk but not sing. Curious to learn more? Or maybe you feel ready to get started? We’d love to meet you and teach you how to exercise safely all while achieving amazing health benefits. Give us a call or book online to get started today!

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Our passionate team includes a Clinical Exercise Physiologist, Holistic Nutritionist and Massage Therapist. We love what we do and helping our clients get back to what they love. Call us on 0417 030 608 to book an appointment.

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