A recent study in the medical journal Cancer found that two thirds of patients with breast cancer reported lower than recommended levels of physical activity. In a study of 1,735 patients diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, 35% of them met the current standard of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. The study investigated racial differences in physical activity and found that African American women were less likely to meet national physical activity guidelines after diagnosis than their Caucasian counterparts. The researchers concluded that “despite compelling evidence demonstrating the effects of physical activity after a diagnosis of breast cancer, it is clear that more work needs to be done to promote physical activity in patients with breast cancer, especially African American women.”
Research indicates that physical activity after a diagnosis of breast cancer may be beneficial in improving quality of life, reducing fatigue, and enhancing energy. According to the National Cancer Institute, both reduced physical activity and the side effects of treatment have been linked to weight gain after a breast cancer diagnosis. One study found that women who exercised 3 to 5 hours per week at an average exertion after a diagnosis of breast cancer had improved survival rates compared with more sedentary women. The benefit was particularly pronounced in women with hormone responsive tumors. Another study found that a home-based physical activity program had a beneficial effect on the fitness and psychological well-being of previously sedentary women who had completed treatment for early-stage through stage II breast cancer. For more information on the benefits of exercise for individuals with breast cancer visit:
If you, or someone you know has been diagnosed with breast cancer, a physical therapist specializing in women’s Health or oncology is highly beneficial in creating a safe, individualized exercise program during and after breast cancer treatment. Stay tuned for Breast Cancer appropriate Pilates exercises.
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