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The Importance of Movement and Mental Health for Breast Cancer Patients

With her active lifestyle, Sian Preston, a personal trainer and mother of two, never imagined she would be diagnosed with stage 3C triple negative breast cancer. As she prepared for a double mastectomy and treatment, Sian knew she wanted to stay as active as possible.

“I knew a year of sitting on the couch wouldn’t do my body any favors,” Sian said. “I was also told by many that movement was key for staying strong through. I also knew if I overdid it, my body would be too exhausted to fight the cancer. It was a balance.”

Sian shared her thoughts on the importance of movement for breast cancer patients in a recent Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC) Impact Series event.

“I decided at the start, when I felt strong, that walking would be the best,” Sian said. “I made sure to walk with a friend so that if I felt light-headed or fatigued, I had someone to help me back home. Plus, the company was great.”

On the days when she was weak and had trouble getting off the couch, Sian practiced a form of yoga called viniyoga, which is an adapted form of yoga tailored to each person’s unique condition. She worked with her yoga teacher to design a specialized yoga workout she could do while lying down.

“That means no standing up, no balancing – just lying down or on all fours working on my core, my arms and leg strength – it was magic,” Sian said.

She also recommends finding creative ways to maintain muscle tone, such as baking.

“I made bread – a lot of bread. Just kneading is a great arm workout,” Sian said. “No matter how small the arm movement is, do something. It helps with the lubrication of joints and muscles, which is so important.”

After her double mastectomy, when her movement was more restricted and she wasn’t able to exercise as frequently, Sian turned to journaling, which helped her mental health and emotional well-being.

“Pretend your loved ones will read it,” Sian said. “Why? Because it forced me to find something positive to write about every single day, even on the days when there was nothing positive to write about.”

The MBC Impact Series provides people living with metastatic breast cancer and their loved ones a safe, collaborative space to gather information related to MBC and discover practical resources to help make decisions for improved physical and emotional health. Click here to learn about this free education, along with upcoming dates and topics.