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1. Why exercise?
2. How much physical activity?
3. Where to start
4. Find out more
Physical activity has many benefits for people who’ve had treatment for breast cancer, from reducing fatigue to helping regain a sense of control.
You don’t need an expensive gym membership or fancy equipment to get active. There are many ways to make physical activity an enjoyable part of everyday life.
Before starting any type of activity, talk to your specialist team or GP.
You may also like to read about:
Regular physical activity can help maintain or improve your health during and after treatment. It can:
As well as being active, it’s important to eat a healthy diet.
Generally, people who’ve had a breast cancer diagnosis are recommended to do the same amount of physical activity as the general population.
According to national guidelines, adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity such as running) every week. They should also do some muscle-strengthening activities on at least two days a week.
Visit the NHS website for more information about the physical activity guidelines, including what counts as moderate, vigorous and muscle-strengthening activity.
Some treatments for breast cancer can make you feel very tired or unwell. If this is how you’re feeling at the moment, don’t worry about how much exercise you do. Even a small amount of activity will have benefits.
Any amount of activity is better than none; if you struggle to do 150 minutes a week, start by trying to reduce the time you spend sitting down or being inactive and gradually increase this over time.
If you have a medical condition that means you can’t do much physical activity, try to be as active as you can. Even a small increase in exercise is thought to benefit your health. You can ask a healthcare professional about the most suitable types of activities for you.
If you’ve had breast surgery, check with your treatment team when you can start exercising and what type of activity would be best for you.
Find out more about physical activity during and straight after treatment.
It’s best to start slowly with an activity you enjoy and gradually build up the amount you do.
For example, if you enjoy walking, start walking a short distance regularly. If you’re managing this easily, gradually build up the distance, number of times a day you walk, or the speed at which you walk.
A pedometer or a pedometer app for your phone can help you monitor your progress.
Setting realistic goals, keeping a record of how much activity you do and sharing your progress with other people may help you stay motivated.
There are many ways to include exercise in your daily routine including:
Before starting any type of activity, talk to your treatment team or GP.
What exercise and how much you do will depend on a number of different things including:
The NHS website has a wide range of information about exercise.
Walking for Health helps people become more active.
We are Undefeatable is a national campaign to support people with long-term health conditions to be active.
» Find tips on keeping active after breast cancer in Becca, our free app