top of page

The Healing Power of Movement

Most people are aware that some form of movement is beneficial. Whether exercising your muscles or your brain, moving every day can improve your health. It doesn’t need to be strenuous, sweat-inducing, high-impact exercise. Implementing movements like walking, yoga, or cycling can positively impact your overall health.

The Body, Mind, Spirit Connection

You may be familiar with the body, mind, spirit connection—a whole-person approach. The interconnection suggests how our thoughts, physical selves, and emotions affect one another. The way we look after our physical bodies will determine our emotional well-being and vice-versa.

The link between mind, body, and spirit isn’t just anecdotal; it’s a scientific fact. Research reveals three separate neural pathway networks, leading to the head, the gut, and the heart. Dubbed the three brains, they are all capable of controlling how we feel and react.

If our physical health is sound, but our mental or spiritual well-being is not, the effects will eventually impact our physical health. Similarly, poor physical health affects our satisfaction, contentment, and mental state. The delicate balancing act leads to optimal health.

Nourishes Your Mind, Body, and Spirit

Some consider movement “free medicine.” Even small doses practiced with consistency can extend longevity and prevent and treat disease. As far back as Hippocrates and Plato, physical activity was viewed as good for health. Over the years, evidence-based studies have confirmed that movement reduces mortality risks and protects us from chronic medical conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, dementia, and cancer.

One study found that breast cancer survivors benefited from low-impact aquatic exercise, which improved common side effects of breast cancer treatments. Although more research is needed, the study also suggests water exercise may help with lymphedema.

Research also shows that your thoughts, feelings, and expectations can positively impact your physical health. For example, if you're sick but have hope and a positive attitude and believe that you'll get better, your brain will likely produce chemicals that boost your body's healing power. While this doesn’t mean that simply being optimistic can cure your body, it can be helpful in some instances.

How Movement Helps Protect Against Breast Cancer

In addition to the overall health benefits of movement, engaging in exercise can help lower the risk of breast cancer. Although how movement lowers breast cancer risk is not fully understood, researchers believe that physical activity regulates hormones, including estrogen and insulin, which are known to fuel breast cancer growth.

Movement Helps the Newly Diagnosed, Patients, & Those Living with Metastatic Disease

Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can relieve stress, so it can be a significant help when a breast cancer diagnosis amplifies your stress levels. Incorporating movement into your life can also affect how well you treat, manage, or cope with your illness. Even if you’re not the athletic type or you’re out of shape, even a small amount of exercise can be a factor for stress management.

In addition to increasing your overall health and sense of well-being, exercise also has specific stress-reducing benefits.

  • Increases Your Endorphins

Physical activity is an excellent way to foster the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.

  • Reduces Negative Effects of Stress

Exercise can provide stress relief for your body by imitating the effects of stress, such as the flight or fight response, to help your body and its systems practice working together through those effects. It can also help protect your body from harmful effects of stress, including your cardiovascular, digestive, and immune systems.

  • Improves Your Mood

Regular exercise can build your self-confidence, improve your mood, and help you relax. Movement can also reduce the symptoms of mild depression and anxiety. In addition, exercise can also improve your sleep.

The Benefits of Yoga

You don’t have to be a yogi to reap the benefits of a yoga class! Yoga is one example of the positive impact of movement for breast cancer patients and survivors. One study showed that breast cancer patients who practiced yoga reported less fatigue and higher vitality levels three months after treatment had ended.

Getting Physical Can Help Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence

There’s also evidence that physical activity might prevent breast cancer recurrence. One report found that women who engaged in regular physical activity before their cancer diagnosis and after treatment were less likely to have their cancer come back (recur) or die than those who were inactive.

According to a review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, exercise significantly affects survival rates. In addition, the study found that exercise appeared to be far more likely than other lifestyle factors to reduce the risk for breast cancer recurrence and mortality. Another study by the National Cancer Institute concurs that regular exercise may improve survival rates.

Getting Started

Talk with your oncologist and care team before starting a fitness routine. Then, if you feel well enough to start exercising, and if your oncologist and care team have given their approval, you can work out during treatment.

It's important to start slow; try walking, yoga, or stretching before working your way up to a more active routine. You should also listen to your body to determine how much movement is right for you and increase your exercise slowly, especially if you are still in treatment.

Get Moving with Surviving Breast Cancer

Regular physical activity can help maintain or improve your health during and after treatment. It can:

  • Help you avoid or reduce some side effects of cancer treatment, including fatigue, weight gain, osteoporosis, and lymphedema

  • Prevent or minimize the loss of muscle tone and general fitness during and after treatment

  • Reduce anxiety, stress, and depression to help your mental wellbeing

Surviving Breast Cancer offers free, weekly mind, body, and spirit exploration to help you heal. Join other members of our empowering community for yoga, pilates, meditation, and more. We’re here for you every step of the way!

178 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Meditation Mondays:

Chakra Chanting with Gloria

Mondays at 10:00 a.m. ET 


Thursday Night Thrivers:

All Stages

Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Metastatic Breast Cancer

First and third Thursdays

of the month at 7:00 p.m. ET



Thursday Night Thrivers:

Inflammatory Breast Cancer

Second Thursday

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


Tuesday Night Thrivers

Después de un Diagnóstico:

Spanish support group

2do y Cuarto Martes de cada mes 

7:00 p.m. ET


Art Therapy

October 2 6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga Stretching for DIEP flap

October 3 6:00 p.m. ET


Yoga with

Chair assist 

October 10, 11:30 a.m. ET


Writing Workshop:

Reflect and Recharge

October 16, 6:00 p.m. ET


Restorative Yoga:

Fall into Meditation

October 17  6:40 p.m. ET


Qi Gong 

October 24, 11:30 a.m. ET


Breast Cancer Book Club

November 5, 11:00 a.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

bottom of page