After a mastectomy, getting regular exercise is an important part of maintaining optimal physical and emotional health.
You have prepped for your surgery, undergone the procedure, and are finally out on the other side. Engaging in regular physical activity can boost your mood, help you stay in control of your recovery, and help you build muscle strength and flexibility. Educating yourself on what to do post-mastectomy regarding exercise is the first step to ensuring that you stay active.
1. Exercise Safely
Always check with your doctor before you begin an exercise regimen to reduce your risk of injuries. Exercising after a mastectomy should not cause considerable discomfort or other problems. If you have pain that does not lessen or gets worse, a heavy feeling in your arms, swelling, headaches, tingling, lightheadedness or trouble with coordination, stop your workout and contact your doctor.
2. Practice Deep Breathing
Deep breathing exercises ensure your lungs can handle workout routines and can ease stress, once your doctor says you can begin exercising. Deep breathing exercises involve lying on your back while inhaling slowly and deeply, then exhaling slowly. You should set a goal to practice deep breathing five or six times throughout the day.
3. Wear Comfortable Clothes
Exercise in loose, comfortable clothing designed for working out, rather than restrictive, tight-fitting clothes. If you wear custom fit breast forms, make sure they fit securely during your workout.
4. Try Simple Stretching
Basic stretching exercises help relieve shoulder stiffness, which is common after a mastectomy. Focus on practicing gentle stretches to improve your range of motion and strength in your affected shoulder or shoulders. This can involve holding your hands behind your back and pushing them back or holding onto a door frame and taking a step forward to stretch your shoulders.
5. Build up to Cardiovascular Exercise
Cardiovascular activities help you stay in shape post-mastectomy, reduce stress, and build endurance. They also provide a good reason to spend more time outdoors. Depending on your comfort level, you can walk, jog, or run to engage your cardiovascular system.
6. Don’t Forget Strengthening Exercises
Strengthening exercises play an important role in helping you stay fit and healthy after having a mastectomy. However, you should not do them right after your procedure. Typically, patients are cleared to start strengthening exercises four to six weeks after surgery. To ensure you are performing weight lifting and other strength building exercises safely, plan on visiting with a physical therapist for guidance.
7. Make Your Workout Fun
Listen to your favorite music as you work out, or try different activities to keep your post-mastectomy exercise exciting. Try taking a yoga or Pilates class, learn some new dance moves, or go swimming. Looking forward to your workout and enjoying it will encourage you to stick with it on a regular basis.
ContourMed breast forms are designed to fit securely, so you can enjoy a comfortable workout. For information on custom fit breast forms for post-mastectomy patients and for more tips about staying active after surgery, please contact ContourMed today to speak with an expert at 501-214-6080.