The Best Exercises For Breast Cancer Patients

Exercise is important before, during and after treatment for breast cancer. Dr. Harness suggests that you work with your breast cancer specialist to determine what kind of exercise is best for you. Learn more from the video below and check out Dr. Harness’s recommended exercise regimen.

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Jay K. Harness, MD, FACS: On multiple occasions, I have shared with you the importance of exercise, not only before but during and after the treatment for breast cancer. And so I am often asked by my patients, “Gee Dr. Harness, do you have any suggestions about how I go about exercise and what’s the proper approach? I don’t want to hurt myself in the process.”

Well clearly, depending on what stage you are at in the treatment of your breast cancer, you need to be working with your breast cancer specialist, perhaps with people in the physical medicine department at the hospital that you are working with, etc.

So you do need guidance locally. But I want to offer a link here at of a program that I have had the opportunity to review from a very credible source that I’d like to recommend and will provide the link to this doctor’s site that gives you a really lovely overview of how to approach exercise, how to sustain exercise, and how much exercise you should be doing.

I am pleased to provide a link to Dr. Moshe Frenkel. He is an MD. He is a board-certified family physician who actually founded the first integrative medicine clinic at the MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas. He has recently returned, as I understand, back to Israel but he has granted permission to link to his overview.

Now, I have got the overview here and I don’t want to go through it in great detail but I just want to sort of highlight it a little bit. Number one recommendation is that you choose something that you enjoy. How about dancing? How about walking? How about getting outdoors? What is it that you like? The pure movement and doing it on a sustained basis is what’s really important.

Next step is to start slow, particularly if you are recovering from your surgery or just getting over your chemotherapy, or you are just getting over your radiation therapy, you want to start slow. The hard part is keeping it going.

One of the things in talking to exercise coaches through the years, I think an important factor here is to work with somebody. Create a body of power, somebody like this to work with you and help you and keep you going because hey, let’s face it, we all want to stop at times, no matter how committed we are to exercise, but the bottom line is start slow.

Break it up and do fun things, but remember you are not going to do this on a sustained basis. Think of your activities and monitor them in some way. Probably a good analogy here is like climbing a mountain. You are not going to climb into the top of the mountain in one day. You are going to lay out steps along the way.

Also, figure out ways how to reward yourself as you are making progress along a sustainable life-changing health exercise program for you. And also, don’t beat yourself up if you miss a couple of sessions for whatever the reasons.

And then, of course, the bottom line out of this is ‘Gee, how long should I exercise for?’ So on this wonderful outline, the link that we have given you, Dr. Frenkel has got guidelines about, as an example, walking. Try and find that average pace of about 3 point miles per hour and during an average week, try and get in 150 minutes. And then going down jogging and swimming and dancing. He goes through all of these different kinds of fun exercises and gives you some guidelines.

So, here I think is a good link to something. I have reviewed it. It’s coming from a very credible source. As one of the famous companies says – ‘Just do it’.

View Dr. Frenkel’s full exercise overview here.

Jay K. Harness, MD, FACS is a board certified surgeon currently treating patients at St. Joesph Hospital in Orange, CA. Dr. Harness specializes in complete breast health, breast cancer surgery, oncoplastic reconstruction, genetic screening, management of breast health issues, risk assessment and counseling. Dr. Harness is the medical director for Breast Cancer, and guides this first ever social media show’s information by drawing on his former leadership experience as the President of the American Society of Breast Surgeons and Breast Surgery International. Dr. Harness graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1969 and spent time early on in his career at the University of Michigan Medical Center.


This information should not be relied upon as a substitute for personal medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Use the information provided on this site solely at your own risk.  If you have any concerns about your health, please consult with a physician.