In time for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, New York Sports Clubs’ fitness expert — and breast cancer survivor Mary Dolbashian — has offered safe tips and comfortable exercise routines for survivors:
1. Keep Moving
It can be hard and to start moving around after surgery, but it is important to move around when you can. Even if for a short duration of time, getting oxygen to the cells is critical for cell health. Aerobic exercises, such as walking the treadmill and indoor cycling, are the best activities to get you going.
2. Full Body Stretches
Particularly, if you have had lymph node removal, you will need to work at maintaining full range of motion with your arms to avoid cording. It takes time to achieve full range of motion but just a few stretches done at home will help. Try lying on your back with hands behind your head, elbows out, bringing your elbows to the floor. When you have more strength and further healing, you can hang from a pull-up bar.
3. Chest Stretches
After surgery, the chest can become very tight which can cause a strain on your back, so stretching your chest is important on your road to recovery. In addition to other stretching routines, you can use TRX Straps to stretch your chest, strengthen your back and perform other exercises like low rows, mid rows, and high rows.
Core work is very important because your belly is the harbor for disease. Like everything with these tips, you start where you are and do as much or as little as you can each time — the key is to stay consistent. You can start with one plank for 10 seconds and then two planks for 10 seconds the next time. At some point, add different types of core work like sit-ups and leg raises.
A healthy diet is just as important as exercise. While going through treatment, it isn’t always easy to eat well because it can make you feel so bad, but keep a healthy diet as your goal. When you begin eating regularly again, try to stay away from processed foods. Eat lots of green vegetables and fruits. If you have a bad day, start again being healthy next day! Stay away from sugar — which is hard — because cancer loves sugar!