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Pilates for Cancer Patients and Survivors

In general, exercise is highly recommended for current cancer patients as well as cancer survivors. Low-impact exercises, like Pilates, are known to improve physical health, reduce fatigue, and potentially increase the quality of life for people with cancer. Going through cancer treatments can be very taxing on the mind and body. You may feel extremely weak during and after treatments. This is where Pilates can be used to reconnect you with your body. That’s right, you don’t have to be in perfect health to begin or continue with a Pilates journey. Your Pilates Teacher should be able to modify exercises to meet your current strength and fitness level.

A 2017 study published in the Journal of Breast Health concluded that people with breast cancer who practiced Pilates experienced greater improvements in quality of life, had better upper extremity functions and experienced milder lymphedema (swelling in the limbs) than those in the control group. The study also found Pilates to be more effective than regular exercises in relieving the symptoms of lymphedema.

Cancer patients and survivors can regain confidence and vitality (mind and body) through the gentleness of using Pilates equipment. Everything in the studio can be adjusted to the individual client to provide appropriate exercises and resistance. You will learn to breathe deeply and fully as you move through the exercises. The breath will help improve lymphatic drainage which is so important for cancer patients and survivors. As you strengthen the muscles and joints in the affected area of the body there will be less strain put on other areas of the body that may be compensating for the weakness there. Pilates also promotes stability and improves mobility - skills that may have decreased. Working one on one with a skilled Pilates teacher will provide you with the support needed to move safely and confidently.

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