Get Back on Track: How Pilates Can Supplement Your Workouts After a Mastectomy

Breast cancer and resulting treatments or surgeries are life-changing experiences. Whether a biopsy or mastectomy, lumpectomy or breast reconstruction, it’s important to help your body recover and restore motion. Pilates is a great way to get your body moving again and slowly increase your strength and flexibility!

Easy and Expert Does It

Before beginning any rehabilitation exercise after a mastectomy, talk to your doctor. While you should expect to start increasing body movement within days after surgery, it’s important not to undertake any exercise without getting a medical clearance or approval from your doctor or surgeon.

Pilates is an excellent form of exercise to help you restore motion, regain strength, improve flexibility, and minimize pain. Make sure you are only working with qualified, certified, experienced Pilates instructors, like those at Firehaus Pilates in Denver. We recommend that you start off with a private Pilates session so you can talk to your Pilates instructor about your experience and medical history to ensure they have the right level of detail to help you recover faster.

Protect and Proceed

Ab Separation - Diastasis Recti Rehab

Your rehab Pilates should start with a protective period that begins with gentle exercise like the Supine Scapular Series on the Trapeze Table, to regain range of motion in the upper body, or Pelvic Clock, to not only gently wake the transverse abs, but to relax the muscles in the hips and back which may be tight or irritated from lack of movement post surgery or procedure. Guided by one of our qualified Polestar Pilates instructors, you can expect to perform exercises that may actually feel easy but will prepare you to do more in the long run. There should be no discomfort but, instead, a focus on moving and using the arms, back, and core.

You may be surprised to find out that several targeted Pilates exercises for mastectomy recovery include strengthening the core or abdominal area first!  A strong core is a foundation for improved balance, stability, and flexibility! After focusing on your core first, we’ll move to focus on exercises that offer subtle movement to improve shoulder strength and upper back flexibility.

After these foundational Pilates exercises, your trained instructor will begin to expand your program. Working with a trainer allows activities to be modified as needed, plans can be designed and personalized to your stage of recovery, and offer peace of mind that you are doing exercises correctly and safely.

Mind Over Matter

While Pilates will certainly help you improve your strength after surgery, it also offers mental benefits as you recover. Pilates is an exercise that engages the mind, body, and spirit. You will learn how to center your thoughts and focus your breath as you undertake movement. It is a powerful feeling when you realize you are truly in control of your body!

As Pilates develops the body and mind, it also services to increase metabolism and improve lymphatic, circulatory, and respiratory function. Pilates is effective doing it while sitting, lying down, using a mat, or on a Reformer exercise machine. You’ll find there are many different ways to understand and use your body that you may not have considered before!

If you, or someone you care about, are recovering from breast cancer surgery or just headed down the road to breast cancer recovery, please contact us. Firehaus Pilates is a highly experienced, professional, and certified Pilates studio with personalized training programs that can help you get ready for the road ahead or get you back on the way to good health.


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