Below are more tips from Naomi Aaronson about things women recovering from breast cancer will want to be aware of as they begin exercise. All exercise should be monitored by a woman's health care professional.
- If lymphedema is present, one should consult with a certified lymphedema therapist.
- Women who have had lumpectomies or mastectomies will probably be most comfortable exercising in a sports bra or camisol.
- Plan to build an exercise program slowly, in stages.
- Know that there may be some discomfort, and that can be a little scary. Work with your therapist/instructor to make sure you are safe and as comfortable as possible.
- Exercise may elicit some emotions. That is OK.
- Sometimes the chest area will feel very different from how it used to feel, and it can take time to get used to that. There may even be some loss of feeling.
- In Pilates, we don't do a lot of repetitions; we go for quality. That may be a good motto for any exercise a woman in recovery chooses to do, especially at first.
I hope that women recovering from breast cancer and its treatments will feel encouraged to find the support they need to begin an exercise program. It has been my experience that exercise is a wonderful path to healing.
We have a forum here at pilates.about.com, where one can ask questions about Pilates and get support from myself and other Pilates practitioners. There is also a whole website about breast cancer at About.com, with a forum as well. In the link boxes to side of the screen, there are links to more breast cancer resources.
Naomi Aaronson is an occupational therapist, fitness instructor, and Pilates mat instructor as well as an author, presenter and continuing education provider for several fitness organizations. Naomi is also co-author of the learning CD, Breast Cancer Recovery: On Land and In Water and the Breast Cancer Recovery Exercise Program and author of the CD, Get Strong After Breast Cancer. Both products are available at her website, RecoverExercisesForWellness.com