exercise before starting treatment

why should I exercise before starting Breast Cancer treatment?

by | Jun 16, 2022 | Cancer, Health Conditions

June 16, 2022

Being diagnosed with Breast Cancer can be very overwhelming, so I am here to help give you information about WHY you should exercise before starting breast cancer treatment. There are so many things happening out of your control once being diagnosed with Breast Cancer, however, exercise is something you can take control of, even before starting cancer treatments. It may be scary to even think about exercising while trying to wrap your head around everything going on, but exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body, and below is why.

General Benefits of regular exercise:

Firstly, regular exercise before starting breast cancer treatment (and also during treatment) can give you numerous general benefits, including:

  • Improved general health, wellbeing & quality of life
  • Reduced risk of developing AND/OR helping to manage chronic health conditions, including, but not limited to;
    • Other cancers
    • Chronic pain
    • Obesity
    • Musculoskeletal conditions (osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, arthritis, etc.)
    • Mental health (depression, anxiety, psychosis, etc.)
    • Women’s health (prolapse, PCOS, endometriosis, etc.)
  • Increased balance and balance confidence to help reduce the risk of falls
  • Improved recovery post-surgery or hospitalisation (cancer or non-cancer related)
  • Improved sleep, energy & mood
  • Aiding in recovery of muscular/joint injuries
  • Improved ability to complete activities of daily living
  • Improved brain health (concentration, thinking, learning, judgements skills)
  • Improved bone health & strength
  • Improved sexual health, body image and body confidence

You may be thinking, but how do some of these even relate to me? Well, let me explain. Going through Breast Cancer treatments is very taxing on your body, meaning many things are affected. You will be at a higher risk of developing other chronic conditions, such as heart conditions, mental health disorders and low bone density to name a few. Exercise helps to keep prevent these from occurring, counteracting the negative side effects of Breast Cancer treatment(s). Additionally, many Breast Cancer patients find it difficult to sleep, that their body image and confidence declines as their normal routine of a healthy lifestyle may stop, and their energy and mood suffer because of the entire vicious cycle. Exercise can improve and counteract all of these, as well as helping you to regain some normalcy of feelings, emotions and physical factors by helping you to ‘feel good’.

Cancer-specific benefits of regular exercise:

Secondly, regular exercise before starting breast cancer treatment (and also during treatment) can also give multiple cancer-specific benefits, including:

  • Reduced number and severity of cancer and treatment-related side effects, including; body image, psychological distress, fatigue, pain, lymphoedema, cognition, bone loss, sexual function, sleep!
  • Reduced risk of cancer recurrence and developing late appearing side effects
  • Improved tolerance to chemotherapy, so your body can tolerate higher doses of chemo to improve its effectiveness
  • Improved cancer survival rate
  • Improved mental health, physical functioning, strength, mobility, fitness and quality of life
  • Reduced the risk of developing other chronic diseases
  • Improved bone density to help reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Aiding to manage ‘brain fog’ and cognition

the importance of introducing exercise before starting breast cancer treatment:

Where the real trick is, is exercising prior to starting Breast Cancer treatment(s) to prevent side effects from occurring in the first place. Rather than trying to reduce or reverse side effects once you are already experiencing them. There is a very long list of benefits to exercising with Breast Cancer that many of us are not aware of, however, only a handful will likely relate to you. In addition, there may even be some benefits and side effects not listed above that exercise can help you with. Because exercise can improve and manage things you may never have expected, and it is safe and effective in the cancer population. So there is no reason as to why you shouldn’t be exercising on a regular basis.

If you start putting into place good exercise behaviours now, you’re setting yourself up in a much better position for your body to tolerate cancer treatment(s), as well as to go on and live a healthy and active lifestyle.

Now you know the why to Breast Cancer and Exercise, {here} is the what you should be doing in a step-by-step guide.

Otherwise, come see us at iNform Health & Fitness for a more individualised approach – https://informhealth.com/

Stay Active,

AEP, AES, ESSAM, BClinExPhysHons

For those of you who would like further details on the benefits of Exercise and Breast Cancer, here are some useful articles and websites:

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