- Cancer Information
- Managing side effects
- Breast prostheses and reconstruction
- Looking after yourself
- Staying active
You will probably find it helpful to stay active and to exercise or move about regularly. Light exercise after surgery, such as walking, can help people recover and improve their energy levels. Some women like to join a walking group or walk with friends so that exercise becomes a social event.
How much will you be able to exercise?
The amount and type of exercise you do will depend on what you are used to, how well you feel and your doctor’s advice. It is important that you wear a supportive bra to protect your breasts when you exercise.
When can you resume vigorous exercise?
If you have a breast reconstruction, it will be a while before you can return to vigorous exercise and you may need to modify the exercise that you do. For example, if you have an abdominal flap reconstruction, you will need to be gentle with abdominal-based exercises. You will also be encouraged to wear supportive underwear. Ask your doctor, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist about exercises you can try.
Exercise and breast reconstruction
Exercise is important for you both before and after you have breast reconstruction surgery to help you recover. Exercise before surgery can help you feel better and recover your strength faster.
For a guide to some simple exercises that you can do after breast reconstruction, see our series of arm and shoulder exercises after breast surgery.
BCNA has some useful resources, including videos and a podcast, to help you start your recovery before you have surgery, as well as afterwards. Learn how to achieve your best possible physical recovery after a breast reconstruction at BCNA.
A/Prof Elisabeth Elder, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Surgeon, Westmead Breast Cancer Institute and Clinical Associate Professor, The University of Sydney, NSW; Dragana Ceprnja, Senior Physiotherapist and Health Professional Educator, Westmead Hospital, NSW; Jan Davies, Consumer; Rosemerry Hodgkin, Consumer; Gillian Horton, Owner and Director, Colleen’s Lingerie and Swimwear, ACT; Ashleigh Mondolo, Clinical Nurse Consultant Breast Care Nurse, Mater Private Hospital South Brisbane, QLD; Dr Jane O’Brien, Specialist Oncoplastic Breast Cancer Surgeon, St Vincent’s Private Hospital, VIC; Moira Waters, Breast Care Nurse, Breast Cancer Care WA; Sharon Woolridge, Consumer; Rebecca Yeoh, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council Queensland.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.