Pilates, Exercise and Breast Cancer

Pilates, Exercise and Breast Cancer

Pilates for Breast Cancer Survivors
Pilates for Breast Cancer Survivors

 

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month around the globe so what better time to reinforce the message around exercise and its role in preventing and managing disease.

Pilates is enjoying a surge in worldwide popularity as a form of exercise. Heavily endorsed by celebrities who credit their lean and toned physique to Pilates, it focuses on the whole person, connecting the mind and body through a series of flowing movements to improve strength and flexibility.

Over recent years, appropriately qualified Fitness Professionals and Exercise Therapists have been working with other allied health professionals to incorporate Pilates as part of their general rehabilitation programs for clients recovering from surgery, illness and both chronic and acute injuries.

Increasingly, Breast cancer survivors are benefiting from Pilates and modified Yoga as an effective way of regaining ROM post-surgery and managing side effects from treatment including fatigue and nausea.

Women diagnosed with breast cancer usually have surgery, which is often followed by systemic treatments such as chemotherapy, hormone therapy and radiation. Many women experience side effects both during and after treatment including fatigue, loss of range of motion and strength in the affected arm, weight gain and poor posture. If lymph nodes have been removed and or radiation treatment undertaken the risk of developing Lymphedema is also an issue.

Typically there are psychological implications to being diagnosed with Breast Cancer and undergoing surgery that may affect your body image. Pilates is one tool that can help survivors regain a sense of control over a body that they may feel has betrayed them.

As a Cancer Exercise Specialist I am qualified to assess, design and implement individual and group exercise programs for clients diagnosed with a wide range of cancers.

I have a special interest in Breast Cancer as a survivor myself and I am skilled in evaluating health behaviours and risk factors, conducting comprehensive fitness assessments, writing appropriate exercise recommendations and motivating clients to maintain positive lifestyle behaviours.

As a graduate of the Cancer Exercise Training Institute I have been trained to develop essential exercises for Breast Cancer Survivors (employing a combination of Pilates and Yoga), and can provide important nutritional guidelines that may give the body the best chance of preventing or recovering from cancer and other debilitating degenerative diseases.

Some of the Benefits of Exercise in Preventing Cancer

  • Maintenance of a healthy body weight
  • Reduction in levels of fat in and around the abdomen
  • Maintenance of the biological system that regulates blood sugar levels
  • Control of some tumour growth factors
  • Improved immune function
  • Reduced symptoms of mild to moderate anxiety and depression
  • Increased levels of free radical scavengers to assist the body in preventing DNA damage

Some of the Benefits of Exercise during Cancer Treatment

  • Increased stamina
  • Increased functional capacity
  • Increased strength and self esteem
  • Improved treatment tolerance
  • Management of pain and fatigue
  • Management of depression and sleep disturbances

Some of the Benefits of Exercise during Recovery from Surgery

  • Increased Range of Motion in the affected arm
  • Regaining pre-diagnosis strength and fitness
  • Managing the fatigue that can linger for months or even years after surgery & treatment
  • Improve postural deviations that can lead to pain and joint deterioration
  • Lose weight and improve body composition
  • Prevent & manage Lymphedema
  • Minimise the risk of osteoporosis, diabetes, and other cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month…..

Is a great time to get started on your journey back to wellness. Contact me now to discuss how I can tailor a Cancer Exercise Program to meet your individual needs.