How Can Exercise Help Someone Recover From a Mastectomy?

How Can Exercise Help Someone Recover From a Mastectomy?

Exercise can play a crucial role in aiding the recovery process after a mastectomy (surgical removal of the breast). It’s important to note that the type and intensity of exercise should be tailored by a CETI Cancer Exercise Specialist  to the individual’s specific condition, overall health, and medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any exercise regimen after a mastectomy. Here’s how exercise can help with recovery:

Improved Circulation and Lymphatic Flow: Gentle exercises like walking, swimming, and light stretching can help improve blood circulation and lymphatic flow. This can reduce the risk of swelling (lymphedema) and promote healing.

Restoring Range of Motion: Following surgery, some individuals may experience limited shoulder and arm movement. Specific exercises can help gradually restore range of motion and prevent stiffness. These exercises may involve pendulum swings, wall climbs, and other gentle stretches.

Strengthening Muscles: Exercises that target the chest, back, shoulder, and arm muscles can help regain strength. Strengthening these muscles can improve posture, reduce discomfort, and assist in daily activities.

Pain Management: Controlled and appropriate exercise can help manage post-surgery pain. Engaging in regular low-impact activities can stimulate the release of endorphins, which are natural pain-relieving hormones.


Psychological Benefits: Exercise can have positive effects on mental well-being, helping to alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression often associated with surgery and recovery. Participating in physical activity can promote a sense of accomplishment and overall positivity.

Bone Health: Weight-bearing exercises, under guidance, can help maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, which can be of particular concern for some individuals after a mastectomy.

Cardiovascular Health: Cardiovascular exercises like brisk walking, cycling, or swimming can improve overall heart and lung health, enhancing stamina and energy levels during recovery.

Body Image and Confidence: Engaging in exercise can contribute to an improved body image and self-confidence. Participating in activities that make you feel good about yourself can be empowering.

Social Engagement: Joining support groups or exercise classes specifically designed for breast cancer survivors can provide a sense of community and emotional support during the recovery journey.

Gradual Progression: It’s important to start with low-intensity exercises and gradually increase intensity and duration as the body heals. Overexertion should be avoided to prevent complications or setbacks. Consult a CETI Cancer Exercise Specialist for individualized exercise programming to help aid recovery safely and effectively.

Remember, the recovery process after a mastectomy varies for each individual. Always consult a CETI Cancer Exercise Specialist  before starting any exercise program, as they can provide personalized advice based on your medical history, surgery type, and overall health. A CETI Cancer Exercise Specialist can help design a safe and effective exercise plan tailored to your needs.