Breast Cancer and Exercise – Muscle Strength and Endurance

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Week Four

A Breast Cancer diagnosis can completely blind-side a woman and shock her family and friends. While navigating various treatment options and making decisions on the best approach for her case, the days and weeks can fly by and exercise can often become a low priority. However, even just walking post-surgery and during treatment can provide both physical and emotional benefits.

The last few weeks we have discussed how exercise can play a role in both prevention and treatment of Breast Cancer. It’s always important to discuss your fitness plan with your physician because everyone’s case is different.

Once given the approval, following a program that incorporates specific exercises and stretches that will help you heal and strengthen while maintaining mobility and flexibility will be extremely beneficial.

Over the last few weeks, we have discussed cardio, mobility and flexibility. An aggressive strength training program will need to wait until you have healed from the surgery, but while waiting, you can incorporate lower body strength exercises and core conditioning.

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Lower Body Exercises

As soon as you are given the green light, some lower body exercises that you can incorporate include the following.







Step Ups






Note – since you will not be given approval to lift any weight yet, just use your body weight only during these lower body exercises.

Core Exercises

For Core Conditioning exercise, you’ll want to include exercises that don’t involve or provide any load to your upper body. Exercises such as the following can often be incorporated while the upper body heals:


Supine leg lifts






Supine leg extensions



Performing 10-15 reps and 1-3 sets of the above exercises can help prevent muscle atrophy and keep you strong. If you are unfamiliar with proper form for these movements, be sure to get some instruction from a professional who has some experience and understanding of modifications to be made post-surgery and during Breast Cancer treatment.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we’re 2 weeks away from the Girlfriends Run, a local 6K, 10K and Half Marathon Run/Walk that supports local Breast Cancer organizations including Pink Lemonade Project and the Jaime Wyatt Miller Cancer Compassion Fund. Learn more about how you can be a part of 2000 women walking or running the Girlfriends Run 5K, 10K or Half Marathon on Sunday October 13th. If you would like to race for free, you can agree to raise or donate $500 to Pink Lemonade Project or the Jaime Miller Cancer Compassion Fund and help us raise funds to support local women and Breast Cancer survivors. Email me at if you would like more details.

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Join us for Girlfriends Run for a Cure Half Marathon, 10K & 5K THIS SUNDAY!!!

October 13th – Vancouver, WA

The 13th Annual Girlfriends Run for a Cure offers a Half Marathon, 10K & 5K designed specifically for women to get together to do something good for themselves and to help support a very important women’s cause.




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