Physical Activity Health Info - Benefits

Physical Activity Research and Benefits for Survivors

  • Most physical activity research is on patients with breast, prostate, bone and reproductive organ cancers. Exercise can improve breast cancer survivors' quality of life
  • Exercise is safe to do during and after breast cancer treatment. It also can reduce symptoms. It does improve quality of life. But, a lot of women don't get any regular physical activity other than normal daily (shopping, cleaning, office work).
  • Taking part in daily physical activity improves the way the body functions. It also reduces fatigue. Lymphedema is swelling of the arm that is painful. Certain kinds of exercise can help breast cancer survivors avoid the condition. Some types of exercise can improve symptoms for those who already have it. Talk with your doctor for guidance.
  • Breast cancer patients who take part in physical activity have a 24% decreased risk for breast cancer coming back. A third of them have fewer deaths from breast cancer! Talk with your doctor before you start a physical activity routine. Make sure it is safe for you.
  • You need time to heal after surgery and should follow the advice of your health care team.

Physical Activity Needs to Include:

  • Endurance activities that make you breathe harder (walking, bicycling, vacuuming, cutting wood); also called, "aerobic" exercises
  • Strength activities, like lifting weights or stones or logs for ceremonial setting; lifting groceries or children or books
  • Strength building is sometimes called "resistance-training"
  • Balance exercises help prevent falling, tripping and other accidents (like standing on one leg; holding a pose or stance)
  • Flexibility exercises are different ways of stretching your muscles to keep them limber and better able to hold your body's organs in place

You need to:

  • Stretch your muscles before you begin (more important as we age) and after you are done
  • Drink more water than normal
  • Include variety of activities so that different muscles are worked, strengthened and stretched