advice about what exercise is safe

Hi all

Can anyone point me in the direction of a source of information, my web searching skills aren’t as good as they might be. I want to start exercising again following my treatment, (mastectomy, chemotherapy, rads and currently Herceptin) previously I ran and attended exercise classes such as body pump (exercise to music using weights), yoga and aerobics. What classes, exercise should I do and what should I avoid? The only advice I can find is along the lines of, well it depends on the individual… I can understand that to an extent but it’s not very helpful! I am desperate to regain some of my lost fitness.

Thanks ladies


Hi Jess

As a lymphoedema sufferer, I think a lot does depend on all sorts of variables (your age, fitness before diagnosis, how stable your lymphoedema is, what exactly you had in mind…

Actually, you don’t say whether you have lymphoedema or not. If you don’t have it, you might want to try to get fitted for a prohylactic sleeve (as a preventative measure), although this can be very difficult. Many bcns/lymphoedema clinics won’t contemplate it. It is possible to order one for yourself through a chemist (but you’ll have to pay - will bump a link for this shortly - it’ll be a long one, tho’).

One thing you can do, if there are no medical reasons why not, is go swimming, as it is very good for both lymphoedema and ‘at risk’ arms.
As with any form of exercise, you need to start slowly and build up very carefully, which includes stopping completely as soon as you experience any discomfort at all with your arm. Same goes for any dry land activities.

I can e-mail you more info’ if you can pm me with your e-mail address.

All the best for now



Hi Bahons2

Many thanks for your response and for bumping up the other thread - lots to take in and think about.

Fortunately I don’t have lymphoedema, and am trying hard to keep that way. I find it deeply worring that we are not given more information, or any at all in some cases, at the time of surgery. It wouldn’t have stopped me having the surgery but I would at least have been better prepared for the possible consequences.

I think I may have to book myself some swimming lessons as that seems to be the safest option…

Thanks again


Hi Jess

Glad you found the info’ useful.

I agree (trying not to get on my soapbox too early in the day!) that in many areas not enough info’ is given about lymphoedema and what there is does tend to play down the effects on quality of life.

There seems to be a huge gulf between the medical profession’s attitude to the problem of lymphoedema and the patients’ actual experience of it.

Hope you continue to make a good recovery.



Hi Jess,

There is no reason why you shouldn’t run again, as this will not place any strain on your arm. As for exercises involving arms - there was an Australian study done recently on ladies doing dragon boat racing - if anything, it seemed to help with lymphoedema, not make it worse. I think the main message to take on board is not to strain your arm, whatever you do, build it up slowly.