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Weight Training Gains In Breast Cancer Survivors

Breast Cancer Survivors

Weight Training Gains in Breast Cancer Survivors

Weight lifting has generally been prescribed for women with breast-cancer–related lymphedema, preventing them from obtaining the well-established health benefits of weight lifting, including increases in bone density.

Breast-cancer survivors often struggle with a variety of quality-of-life complaints, including insomniaweight gain, chronic fatigue, depression and anxiety.

To see if weight training might help boost patients’ quality of life, researchers assigned 86 women who had finished their cancer treatment to either a weight-training program or no weight training. Those in the weight-training group were taught how to perform nine common weight-based exercises using free weights and resistance machines to work the muscles of their chest, back, shoulders, arms, buttocks,hips and thighs. For the first 13 weeks, they participated in twice weekly, 90-minute supervised exercise sessions that included stretching, a cardiovascular warm-up, and abdominal and back exercises. The weight-lifting exercises involved low weights, and one to three new exercises were added at each session. The number of sets increased from two to three, with 10 reps in each set, using 2 to 3 pound weights during the first five weeks. If the women felt OK, more weight was added.

Study Reporting:

If you’re being treated for breast cancer, try to make exercise (and a healthy diet) part of your daily routine. Think of exercise and a healthy diet as another important part of your treatment plan that helps you recover and stay healthy. Talk to your doctor about how much and how often you should exercise. Ask around and see if any breast cancer support groups near you have organized exercise classes. If you can’t find an exercise class through a breast cancer support group, think about joining another exercise class. There’s a good chance the class might be able to give you the motivation and support to make regular exercise part of your treatment and recovery. Find the right exercise routine for YOU and then do your best to stick with it! It can make a difference both physically and mentally, today and tomorrow.

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