Fitness: Post – Breast Surgery

Fitness: Post – Breast Surgery

Restore Your Mobility

After Mastectomy (Breast Cancer Surgery), it is important to exercise and get back the strength in upper body. Physical exercise also helps to reduce the side effects of surgery and assists in getting back to routine activities.

If you have been through radiation therapy, exercise after surgery would place even more importance to help keep upper body (arms and shoulders) flexible. It is important to develop a regular habit of doing exercises to maintain arms and shoulder mobility even at the time when you have gone through radiation therapy instead of surgery. Consult doctor before starting any exercise to know the limitations. Your doctor might recommend you to meet a certified physical therapist or a cancer exercise expert. These professionals are specially trained to design exercise program that is best for you and to get you back to your normal routine. Your health care professional might suggest you to do similar exercises, but at a lower intensity level. You have to avoid certain exercises until drains and stitches are removed. Many physical therapists recommend daily stretching to help stop scar tissue from building up, which can limit your shoulder’s range of motion.

Fitness: Post – Breast Surgery

Other Exercises

It is important for women who had breast cancer to do mild aerobics to improve heart-lung capacity but avoid if your platelet count is lower than 50,000 per micro litre or your white blood cell count is lower than 3,500 per micro litre. Recurrence for certain types of cancer can be reduced by improving Fitness level and weight loss. Consult your doctor about these exercises after the breast cancer treatment.

Strength training is now recommended as part of regular exercise to improve health. These should not be started until 5 weeks after surgery, and must be customized to your general health, fitness and medical condition. Start strength training by using low hand weights, and increase it over time. It is probably best to start strength training in a supervised setting with a cancer exercise trainer or physical therapist to be sure you are doing the exercises properly.

How Soon Can You Resume Exercise?

You need to give yourself enough time to heal from surgery. To maintain your arm and upper body movements, your doctor/therapist will guide you to certain exercises that you can start with the day after your surgery. Some exercises shouldn’t be done until drains and stitches are removed. You may need 8 or more weeks before you can do that type of exercise. You may realize that your muscles are weak after surgery. It is because several nerves run through the chest and underarm area and might have been affected by surgery. If you’re experiencing extreme fatigue or lack of muscle coordination, immediately stop exercise.

Tips:

It is recommended that a week after surgery:

  • Use the arm as you usually do when you take shower, get dressed, and eat.
  • Lie down and raise the affected arm above heart level for 30 minutes twice or thrice a day. Use pillows under your hand for support. This can help relieve any swelling you have after surgery.
  • Exercise the affected arm when it’s raised by opening and closing your hand 15 to 20 times. Then bend and straighten your elbow.
  • Lie back and practice deep breathing (slowly) at least 6 times a day. It helps in maintaining regular chest movement, which makes it easier for your lungs to work.

It is best to visit a certified physical therapist for a structural evaluation before you start exercising. Besides looking for lymphedema your physical therapist can check for any other issues that may limit your ability to exercise. If you feel extreme exhaustion or anything unusual, immediately stop the exercise and contact your healthcare professional.

 

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