Breast cancer survivors urged to exercise

Sept. 26, 2012 at 11:41 PM
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SAN DIEGO, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- Officials at the American Council on Exercise encourage breast cancer survivors to incorporate regular physical activity into their everyday routines.

ACE officials said it has been showed physical activity helps prevent recurrence of breast cancer and increase survival rates.

Regularly exercising has been found to provide a multitude of physical and psychological benefits, including improved immune function, improved sleep, reduced fatigue and cancer-related fatigue, enhanced happiness and reduced stress, ACE officials said.

ACE recommends breast cancer survivors interested in beginning an exercise regimen to:

-- Always consult a doctor before starting an exercise program.

-- Engage in aerobic activities at moderate intensity for a total of 150 minutes per week or vigorous/strenuous intensity for 75 minutes per week. A combination of both is also beneficial.

-- Strength training that works the major muscle groups in both the lower and upper body is recommended two or three times per week. This also helps reduce the risk of developing breast cancer-related lymphedema.

-- Stretch major muscle groups when aerobic and strength-training activities are performed.

-- Allow time for healing after surgery and then evaluate arm/shoulder mobility before performing upper-body exercises.

-- Avoid exercising on days of extreme fatigue or pain.

-- Set short-term goals, especially if undergoing chemotherapy, to prevent loss of interest or motivation. Chemotherapy can cause nausea, which may lead to lack of appetite and then to low energy. Account for these times when you may feel weak in your goal-setting.

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