Exercise, HIIT, weights etc

Hi, I had a single mastectomy and some lymph nodes removed in Nov and currently almost half way through chemo.

Before my diagnosis, I worked out 5 times a week, a combination of HIIT and weights (following Joe Wicks app). I’m very keen to get back to this but confused about what exercises are now safe? I’ve struggled to find any useful info online so for now just doing lots of walking (15-20k a day) and still doing the post surgery exercises - but itching to get back to previous exercise regime.

I’ve heard planks should possibly be avoided but beyond that, very little information out there. For example, are press ups safe? Can weights be lifted above shoulder level? Etc Any advice or pointers welcome.Thanks


Hi laura75. I am far from an expert but I do like to do a bit of exercise too. I was going for PT sessions a while back but had to stop lifting heavier things due to neck issues. I have carried on with lighter weights though and I do pilates/tennis without too much issue. Does your local breast care team have a physio? We have a specialist who we can ask queries exactly like this. I suspect there is a lot you can do but just need a bit more supervision/guidance to begin with. I know one of the main concerns is lymphedema risk - according to the physio I saw, resistance training is being encouraged more and more. She said there had been some research into ladies doing dragon boat racing post breast cancer surgery and they all avoided problems. Hope you can get back to something appropriate for you very soon. The breast care nurses on here may have some good advice too xxx

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…and the walking sounds perfect too! :ok_hand:

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Hello laura75

Thank you for your post about exercising after surgery and during treatment and great that you are walking and wanting to start to increase your exercise with adding in some resistance work.

You should talk to your treatment team before you increase your activity as they can advise you on what you can or cannot do. They may be able to refer to physiotherapy for further advice as @blue80 suggests.

Starting back to exercise may depend on how you feel and any side-effects to treatment, and what type of exercises you were doing before. It’s important to build up your physical activity levels gradually. You may wish to start with low weights and low repetitions and see how you feel, but this depends on your individual surgery and treatments. You can read more here.

CanRehab Trust may be able to support you to get back to exercise: Register for Support | CanRehab Trust

Our recent Facebook live about exercise can be viewed on YouTube: Facebook Live: Exercise interventions for people with breast cancer - January 2024 (youtube.com)

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Best wishes


Breast Care Nurse

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