After your breast cancer surgery, you might be wondering whether it is safe or not to exercise post-surgery.
Understandably, you will have fear and anxiety about movement. You will be worried about accidentally hurting something or accidentally hurting something.
You will want to stay safe and still exercise, which is exactly what you are going to find out here.
These exercises are also easy and gentle for you if you just had surgery for breast reconstruction. By doing these exercises, you won’t have to worry about hurting yourself in the process.
Nonetheless, before you start any of these exercises, you will want to talk to your surgeon or doctor so you know it is safe to start exercising again.
Understanding the Importance of Gentle Exercise
You will need to understand that exercising after your breast cancer surgery requires you to start gently.
In the first two weeks, you really want to take things easy. You will want to avoid repetition and make a lot of movement because you don’t want to cause seroma.
Seroma is the formation of a pocket of fluid that can form when you exercise too quickly or too strongly post-surgery.
You will also want to avoid accidentally opening any incision sites. Initially, you will also want to avoid raising your arms above your head.
Initially, you will want to focus on gentle movement to calm your pain.
You will also want to focus on getting your range of motion back and improving your posture to avoid any long-term shoulder and back issues.
It is important to mention here that if you experience any pain during any of these movements or exercises, you will want to ensure that you cut that exercise out.
Rest assured – read on to learn more about the gentle exercises that you can do after breast surgery.
Exercise #1 – Neck Rotation
The first gentle exercise that you will want to do is neck rotation. Initially, you will want to engage in subtle neck movement; your upper trap muscle which is attached to the base – where your hairline is – goes down your neck and down to the side of your shoulders.
After breast surgery, you can expect things to be a little tight in the front, so you want to ensure that you are getting the front area stretched out and moved too.
You can indulge in subtle neck rotation where you look one way – on your right side – and you feel a gentle stretch down across the front.
Then you will rotate your neck the other way and feel the same stretch almost down into the front.
Gently go back and forth – pause for a few seconds in between – but you should aim at going back and forth at least ten times.
Exercise #2 – Shoulder Rolls
The next gentle exercise that you can do is gentle shoulder rolls. You will start the shoulder rolls by bringing your shoulders up towards your ears – back and down, and then around.
While doing shoulder rolls, you will feel a gentle stretch across your chest.
The stretch will be pretty light – but – it will get you some movement and blood flow in the chest area, which is also the surgical site.
You will want to aim at large circles – and go for ten repetitions all the way around. You can also opt for either direction – any direction will be just fine.
Exercise #3 – Wall Walk
The next exercise that you can do is a wall walk. All you will need for this exercise is a wall or a door frame, and you will gently reach up the wall until you feel a gentle stretch.
If, during the exercise, you will feel a lot of pull or a lot of strain – you want to ensure that you scale back.
For this exercise, you will want to place your hand on the wall and gently slide up and then back down. You will do this exercise at least ten times.
Exercise #4 – Bent Over Row
You can do this exercise without weight or find a one- or two-pound weight. A soup can also work in your favor.
You don’t necessarily have to go and buy exercise equipment. Next, you will want to find a surface, like a countertop or the back of your couch, and use the support to lean on.
You are going to rest your forearm on top of the flat surface of the countertop or the back of your couch.
Proceed to bend over so your back is as flat and as parallel as you can possibly make it to the ground.
Nonetheless, if you have any back issues – you don’t have to go with this exercise or go that far parallel to the ground.
But put your back parallel to whatever you can tolerate with the one free arm just hanging to your side with the weight in your hand.
Next, you will pull your hand towards the side – where your armpit is. So, you will lift that little weight straight up – feel the shoulder blade squeeze back, then bring your arm down. You will want to think of it in terms of pulling a lawnmower to start.
Make sure to squeeze your shoulder blade back and together when you get to the top. You will want to aim for at least ten reps for each of your arms.
Exercise #5 – Biceps Curl
You will want to start your biceps curls with no weight – but – if you feel comfortable, you will want to opt for a pound.
With or without weight, you will start this exercise by bending your elbow, bringing your arm up towards your shoulder, and then back down.
You will want to go all the way up and then all the way down. Exercise one arm at a time and aim for ten reps for each arm.
You can increase the weight gradually – for instance – you might start with a soup can, and after a few days, you might feel good about doing the exercise with a water bottle.