Are you, Survivor Sister, aware of the many positive impacts that physical activity has for our longevity and quality of life?
I understand that getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity is not easy, especially when we’re already dealing with the many adverse debilitating side effects of our cancer treatments.
I get that it honestly feels like being physically active is counterintuitive and that rest, massages and comfort foods are all that should be required, but in reality, we are metabolically unable to recover properly when we are living a sedentary lifestyle.
There are many studies that have long established that by engaging in safe, regular physical activities, that we as breast cancer survivors can gain many tremendous health benefits, including:
Weight loss – physical activity burns calories, balances hormones, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, chances of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Less chronic fatigue – physical activity reduces fatigue by building up endurance, stability, and balance.
Less insomnia – physical activity depletes our energy sources by giving us a physical outlet that enables us to sleep more soundly and balance our hormone melatonin (anticarcinogenic antioxidant).
Less joint pain – physical activity increases circulation, lubricates and keeps our joints flexible.
Less muscle pain – physical activity helps circulation, increases and strengthens our muscle mass and flexibility.
Less bone ache – physical activity improves bone health and reverses the loss of bone density which lowers the risk of developing osteoporosis.
Less lymphodema – physical activity increases circulation and flexibility which reduces inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Less peripheral neuropathy- physical activity increases blood circulation, oxygen, and nutrients, this helps repair nerve cells and reduces numbness, tingling and pain.
Less mental stress – physical activity is a profound anti-depressent, it helps us by regulating our endorphins, cortisol, serotonin, and dopamine levels which gives us a strong sense of well-being.
Science has proven that the more physical activity we engage in, the more our side effects will be reduced, which automatically gives us more energy we have to do the things we most enjoy.
But there is an even more important reason that exercise cannot be prioritized enough.
There are numerous studies that support that increasing or decreasing our physical activity has a huge impact on our risk of breast cancer recurrence and mortality, here is just one of many examples:
Journal of Clinical Oncology 26(24):3958-64 · September 2008, Reads: This was a prospective observational study of 933 women enrolled in the Health, Eating, Activity, and Lifestyle Study. Compared with women who were inactive both before and after diagnosis, women who increased physical activity after diagnosis had a 45% lower risk of death (HR = 0.55; 95% CI, 0.22 to 1.38), and women who decreased physical activity after diagnosis had a four-fold (300%) greater risk of death (HR = 3.95; 95% CI, 1.45 to 10.50).
Survivor sisters, please know that this is not to scare or discourage you. In this case, ignorance is not bliss. Knowledge is the key to our empowerment, it helps us prioritize and motivate ourselves. And it provides a path to enable us to live out our lives like we mean it.
It’s no wonder that the National Cancer Institute, American Institute for Cancer Research and the American Cancer Association recommends regular, consistent exercise for us survivors.
How does regular physical activity decrease our risk of recurrence and mortality? It reduces cancer-stoking estrogens, adipose (fat), inflammation, reverses insulin resistance and increases our metabolism.
How do we do this? Well according to the National Institutes of Health guidelines, we should be engaging in at least 5 hours of moderate-intensity activity, or 2.5 hours of vigorous activity per week. It’s a must, for us to include muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.
Evidence has proven that the more we exercise in both duration and intensity the more we lower our risk of recurrence and the more we increase our quality of life.
Scheduling and implementing physical activity into our lives must be a priority.
It’s also very important not to over-do it, (you may want to check with your doctor) and carefully build up your strength and endurance.
Here are some suitable exercises that you might want to incorporate into your plan:
Upper body weight-bearing exercises, start light and build up.
Light resistance bands and cables
Engaging in physical activities that you actually enjoy makes staying on course so much more sustainable long term.
If you would like support in building and incorporating an exercise protocol that includes motivation, accountability, and experience, you’re in the right place. Imagine the benefits that one-on-one coaching, from another Survivor Sister, who has been where you are and knows how to get you to where you want to go, could provide you. If you are ready to begin a new chapter of your survivor journey; one that offers hope, resolution and reconnection, then apply now to join my Signature Program, The Survivor’s Code. A 12 Week Weight Loss & Wellness Intensive for Breast Cancer Survivors. Schedule your free strategy session, or download my free weight loss guide. Links below!
Download my *FREE* Guide to learn how you can start losing weight, balance your hormones & reduce recurrence risk.