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  • Writer's pictureSurviving Breast Cancer

Controlling a Controllable: Thriving Through Exercise & Movement

By Briana Rickertsen

Throughout my breast cancer treatment, I had a friend’s voice in my head encouraging me that said, “Control the controllables.” When you are diagnosed with cancer, it can feel not only overwhelming, but also like you have lost some control. Being able to take back a few bits to help control your day can be powerful. 

Exercise and movement are one of these tools. There are hundreds of studies to support exercise during treatment and beyond. New studies are being published monthly to support new findings on benefits. Exercise can improve quality of life, treatment outcomes, mental health, side effects (such as energy and nausea), recurrence risk, and mortality. 

Training for my first 10k post cancer.

While exercise may seem like another thing on your plate during a hectic and unpredictable time, there is no better time to start or keep active with movement and exercise than when you are diagnosed with cancer. Here are a few ideas to start and keep you moving. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends building up to 150 minutes of moderate cardio and strength each week. Moderate means you should be able to talk during exercise, but you would not be able to sing while moving. I find it helpful to start small and build on gradually. A little exercise is better than none!

On days I’m having a hard time exercising, I find other ways to support my mind and body, including doing breathing exercises, stretching, restorative yoga, or meditation. Once I reach 150 minutes of exercise per week, I work to increase the intensity or the amount of time/number of workouts per week. Most of all, I keep it fun! I’m more likely to stick to something that I enjoy.

In 2023, I started an Instagram account called The Nifty 150. The goal of the account is to help provide support, education, and empowerment to cancer survivors and increase the number of survivors reaching exercise recommendations. When talking about survivors, I use the National Cancer Institute (NCI) definition of cancer survivors, which begins at the time of diagnosis. 

Exercise is a powerful tool, movement is an empowering action, and breathing is a gift. In the midst of everything we are experiencing as cancer survivors, I hope this provides encouragement for self-care.

I’m here to move with you, support you, and be your number 1 fan.

Hiking on Manitou Incline.

Read More:

Check out SBC’s upcoming events for free virtual movement programs!

On the Podcast: Breast Cancer Conversations

The Benefits of Pilates for Breast Cancer Recovery


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Meditation Mondays:

Chakra Chanting with Gloria

Mondays at 10:00 a.m. ET 


Thursday Night Thrivers:

All Stages Support Group

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Metastatic Breast Cancer Support Group

First and third Thursdays

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer Support Group

Second Thursday

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET


Tuesday Night Thrivers

Después de un Diagnóstico:

Grupo de Apoyo en Español

2do y Cuarto Martes de cada mes 

7:00 p.m. ET


Encourage and Empower

For Newly Diagnosed

September 10, 11:00 a.m. ET


Breast Cancer Book Club

The first Sunday of the month


Restorative Yoga:

Unearthing Opportunities

May 20 ,  5:30 p.m. ET


In Body Breathwork

May 21 ,  6:00 p.m. ET


Brain Spotting

May 27,  6:00 p.m. ET


Qi Gong

May 28,  11:30 a.m. ET


Art Therapy

June 3, 6:00 p.m. ET


Forest Bathing

Jun 4,  6:00 p.m. ET


Reflect & Recharge

Expressive Writing

June 10,  6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga Fitness with Chair Assist

June 11, 11:30 a.m. ET


Yoga Stretching for DIEP flap

June 11,  6:00 p.m. ET


Más eventos en español


Upcoming Events


Surviving Breast Cancer provides breast cancer support, events, and webinars at no cost to you! Whether you are looking to gain more knowledge on a particular topic or meet up with other breast cancer survivors, we have something for everyone. 


Our standing appointment on Thursdays is for all stages. We also host specific breakout groups once a month for specific stages and subtypes such as Metastatic breast cancer, and Inflammatory Breast Cancer, etc. 


The Book Club meets the first Sunday of every month at 11 am ET. You are welcome to join each month or pick and choose your month based on your availability and the book we are reading. 


Through art, writing, and other creative modalities, we hold the power to manage our stress, make sense of our now, and relax into moments of stillness. 


Free, monthly, online classes in restorative yoga, yoga for breast cancer, and Zumba. 


Después de un Diagnóstico

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