Exercise when you have advanced breast cancer

Breast cancer


Exercise for wellbeing

While exercise is often the last thing you feel like doing, research shows that regular and properly supervised light exercise can improve the way you cope with the symptoms of ABC and its treatment.

It can help you to establish and maintain a sense of wellbeing and improve your quality of life. Exercise (such as walking) has been shown to decrease the severity of treatment-related symptoms and can help increase energy levels, improve sleep, reduce fatigue, anxiety, and depression.

“I got bored with the gym, so I invested in a good jacket and walking shoes so I can still go out in the rain!"
Bridget Gage

Three types of exercise

There are three main types of exercises:

  • Aerobic – increases heart and breathing rate, works muscles
  • Flexibility – stretching (such as yoga, pilates and tai chi)
  • Strength/Resistance – using weights or stretch bands

The exercise you choose may be determined by the part of the body affected by ABC and its physical symptoms. If you are unsure about what type of exercise is best for you, speak to your specialist cancer team.

Listen to your body

Always listen to your body and pace yourself rather than overdo it if you start to feel weary. Most importantly, make exercise fun and do it with others (family or friends).

“For me the gym is more than just a gym, it is my second home, my happy place, a place where I go to be inspired and have made so many friends. I have a community there and so much support.”
Greta Thomas
Breast Cancer Foundation NZ - Ribbon