Exercising Safely: Tips For Breast Cancer Survivors

Exercise is important for everybody. Not only does regular exercise help to keep you fit and active, but it also lowers the risk of diseases like breast cancer. For survivors of breast cancer, exercise can help lower the risk of cancer coming back.

While it is important to know which types of exercise are best for you, most doctors and experts would agree that engaging in regular exercise outweighs any cons that might come with it.

Helpful Guide to Exercising Safely

Maintaining a regular workout routine can help you get your energy up, keep a healthy weight and soothe any side effects from treatments.

Get the green light from your doctor

The first step in establishing a workout routine is to get the OK from your physician. Your doctor will help you create a good exercise plan for you and will also recommend which exercises work well while telling you which ones to avoid for the time being.

Make sure you are completely transparent with your doctor so you can get the best advice possible to start your fitness journey with comfort and ease.

Types of exercise

Everyone is different when it comes to the type of exercise they can be comfortable doing. While cardio and strength training comes with many health benefits, strength training workouts, in particular, can trigger lymphedema, a swelling in the lymphatic system, which is something you don’t want.

Exercises that are riskier than others include:

  • Resistance band workouts
  • Exercises such as swimming laps with your arms, or push-ups and pull-ups that put added stress on your arms and shoulders.
  • Cross training machines
  • Inverted yoga poses

You want to be mindful of how much pressure you put on your arms, particularly the arm on the side where you have had your surgery.

Make sure you warm up and cool down

It is always important that you spend 5 to 10 minutes warming up your muscles. These exercises could include stretching the major muscle groups or even taking a hot shower to warm up your muscles.

Cooldown sessions are just as important. Slow your exercise down by walking for 5 to 10 minutes and stretching your muscle groups after your workout.

Take it slow and steady

There’s no rush. Start at your own pace and improve gradually. You want to take the time you need to recover and build strength and only you know the best way to go about that. Always listen to your body and avoid comparing yourself to others.

Let your instructor know you are a survivor

Before settling into your fitness class, let your instructor know that you are a breast cancer survivor. This can be very helpful if you need to make modifications to your exercise and your instructor will be able to guide you through different variations during class.

The content of this Website is for informational purposes only, is general in nature and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, and does not constitute professional advice. The information on this Website should not be considered as complete and does not cover all diseases, ailments, physical conditions, or their treatment. You should consult with your physician before beginning any exercise, weight loss, or health care program and/or any of the beauty treatments. 


Exercise Safely. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.breastcancer.org/tips/exercise/safe

Exercise. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.breastcancer.org/tips/exercise