For women diagnosed with breast cancer, regular exercise during and following treatment has been shown, through a number of different studies, to improve:
- Physical health
- Emotional well being
- Overall quality of life
It can also help to improve body composition, muscle strength, confidence, mood, depression and anxiety.
|Preservation or Improvements||Reductions|
|Muscle mass, strength and power||Number of symptoms and side effects|
|Physical function||Intensity of symptoms|
|Cardiorespiratory fitness||Duration of hospitalisation|
|Physical activity levels||Psychological and emotional distress|
|Range of motion||Depression and anxiety|
|Immune function||Chemotherapy completion rates|
|Body image, self esteem and mood|
Evidence also shows that exercise may also reduce the risk of breast cancer coming back. A 2019 systematic review found survivors who were physically active had a 40% lower risk of death than those who were sedentary.
- 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 to 100 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination of each intensity each week. This physical activity can be done in episodes of any length.
- Muscle-strengthening activities at least 2 days a week
- Balance training, in addition to aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity
Ref: 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2018.
Benefits of Home based exercise
Exercise doesn’t necessarily have to occur outside of the home. A recent Edith Cowan University study found that home-based resistance and aerobic exercise during radiotherapy is safe, feasible, and effective in accelerating cancer related fatigue (CRF) recovery and improving health-related quality of life (HRQoL).