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Exercise And Breast Cancer: Post-Surgery Recovery

Breast cancer awareness

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. 1 in 8 women is affected by this harrowing disease, and while raising awareness about the disease itself is important, we’d like to focus on the recovery from mastectomy or breast cancer surgery and the exercises that can be done after.

Here are some of the exercises that can be done with ease, but before doing them consult a medical health care professional.

For more information about breast cancer read our blog.

Shoulder And Arm Exercises Post-Surgery

Low-intensity upper body exercises or movements help improve the heart-lung or aerobic capacity of women who have breast cancer surgery. Evidence suggests that regular exercise lowers the risk of breast cancer in women.

Backward Shoulder Rolls

This is a gentle post-recovery exercise that doesn’t put too much strain on your breasts or shoulders.

  • Either sit comfortably or stand with your shoulders and arms relaxed
  • Start moving your shoulders in a circular motion by bringing them forward and then rolling them backward slowly and mindfully
  • Repeat this exercise 5 times and if at any point you feel tightness across your chest then start with small circles
  • Once this exercise starts feeling easier, then you can intensify the movements and increase the reps

Shoulder Wings

Shoulder wings are great for the mobility of your shoulders. You can do this exercise by either standing or sitting.

  • Put your hands on your collarbone or chest
  • Bring your shoulders up on the side
  • Avoid overextending them to prevent discomfort, but if you feel no tension or discomfort then raise them as high as you can
  • Hold the position for a second or two and then bring your shoulders down.
  • Repeat this exercise five times
  • Avoid jerking your shoulders down especially if it has only been a week since your surgery
  • Once you ease into the exercise and it doesn’t feel uncomfortable anymore, you can increase the repetition to 10 instead of 5

Breathing Exercises

Deep breathing exercises can help ease the tightness and discomfort around the incision post-surgery. These are also great for relieving stress.

  • Find a chair and sit in it comfortably
  • Close your eyes and take slow deep breaths through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
  • As you breathe in let your belly and chest expand
  • Repeat as many times as you need

Key Takeaway

Before starting any type of physical activity post-surgery consult your medical health professional and take it slow. The exercises above help improve your upper body mobility including your shoulder and arm.  Gradually increase the intensity of the exercises with the help of your doctor and physiotherapist.

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