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by HIS Breast Cancer Awareness

Conquering Exercise as a Cancer Survivor During Covid-19

Surviving breast cancer definitely isn’t easy but being a survivor during Covid-19 makes everything even more challenging! As a man, you’re probably used to feeling strong and able to conquer most anything but after being diagnosed with male breast cancer, you may have to work a little harder to regain that strength.

HIS Breast Cancer wants to assist with giving away FREE year long memberships to Grokker and providing a few tips for your daily exercise routine. Grokker shares on-line health and fitness videos for meditation, yoga, cardio, core strength, cooking and more! Exercise has a variety of physical and emotional benefits from stress reduction, improved mood, better sleep, muscle support and immune boosting.

Exercise comes in different ways for different people. Whether you've been thinking about taking that first step to movement or you're a fitness fanatic, whatever you can do will help support your body and mind.

To begin a routine, you might want to start with a meditation type practice of deep breathing to help prepare and expand your lungs. This is also a wonderful opportunity to aid in the prevention of Covid-19 as the virus can settle in your lungs. A great breathing practice helps by taking a deep slow breath in, hold to the count of 4 seconds and exhale fully. Try doing a few of these, however make sure you don’t become light headed so begin sitting as you practice.

Another gentle way to begin with exercise is to follow a beginner Yoga practice.

Our body after radiation, surgeries and chemotherapy can become very tight, especially following a mastectomy so it’s great to work on light stretching and include your breathing practice as you stretch.

Weights can help play a part in regaining any muscle loss during recuperation. In just a short time, our body can lose up to 25% of muscle mass after being sick so beginning with low weights and multiple repetitions can be useful. If you don’t have any weights in your home you can use anything from filled water bottles, a book, canned vegetables or elastic bands for resistance. Try not to compare what level you were prior to your surgery or treatments, with a little work, you will get back to feeling great satisfaction!

Cardio is also very important to incorporate with your weekly workouts. This can be as simple as a slow walk to a brisk fast pace walk or even with an intermittent jog if or when you’re up for it. If you’re walking outside, remember to have a mask with you to help keep respiratory secretions within and help protect others When you’re feeling strong, you can include an interval of training with cardio (walk 2 minutes, run 2 minutes) and weights as you advance by rotating your daily activities.

Following surgery, we have found physical therapy to be extremely helpful to return to full range of motion but right now that is more difficult with so many closures and limitations. Follow Leslie J. Waltke, PT, DPT of Waltke Cancer Rehabilitation Academy who has some wonderful information and videos that can be extremely helpful post surgery. If you happen to have a Peloton bike or account, there are some great low impact classes you can follow at your pace and advance as you can. One of our favorite apps though is Grokker. Grokker prides themself as the “Netflix of health and wellness videos” and includes videos on cardio, weights, HIT training, pilates, yoga, meditation and even recipes for healthy cooking and more! On Grokker you can choose your style of workout, level, time and intensity from an individual video, joining a group class or one of their special programs.

It’s best if you can put together a