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The Program

“Offering strength…self-esteem and
quality of life to breast cancer survivors”

Breast Cancer Recovery Program
Breast cancer recovery is a delicate time, a time to be respected for the hard won healing that is taking place, as well as the physical and emotional complexities that may arise. When recovering from breast cancer you will face many challenges, not only getting your strength and energy back, but in many cases, re-claiming your self confidence. Exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing after breast cancer surgery. However, studies now show that participating in a gentle exercise program, guided by trained professionals, can help fight the fatigue and depression that often accompanies those recovering from breast cancer. Pilates can serve as a gentle re-introduction or introduction to exercise while improving daily function. Fit First Pilates in Corte Madera is dedicated to promoting a healthy life style, quality of life and positive body image to all breast cancer survivors.

Providing a Nurturing environment
Our Corte Madera studio located right off Hwy 101 just 20 minutes from San Francisco and 35 minutes from the East Bay and Sonoma, provides a nurturing environment and promotes wellness and healing. For some, exercise may elicit some emotions. That is OK. You have a choice of working in the main studio or, if you feel more comfortable, in a private training room. We also understand that while you may be feeling strong on some days, other days you may not be able to work out at all. For this reason, we have a flexible cancellation policy for ALL BCR clients.

Our Multi- Phase Program
Developed in Consultation with local area physicians, physiotherapists and other resource specialists, the Fit First Pilates Marin breast cancer recovery program consists of a gentle, layered multi-phase program. Participants in phases 1 thru 4 are fully supervised. Timing of the various phases is dependent upon the physical condition of the individual, duration of the healing process, type of surgery, courses of adjuvant treatments and recommendationsfrom physicians, nurses and physical therapists. Variables (e.g., low blood counts due to radiation or chemotherapy) may exist that will effect particular exercise choices at a given time. Physician approval is imperative. Progress reports will be sent to your physician as we look forward to being part of your team.

Phase 1: Immediately post-surgery: This phase begins when your medical team has given you the okay to exercise. We will conduct a comprehensive health history session and use this information to design a program specific to your needs and goals. Breathing techniques and gentle exercises performed soon after surgery prevent swelling and tightness, relieve pain and tension, and promote physical and emotional healing. The Pilates exercises in this phase are foundational and can be part of your daily exercise regimen forever.

Phase 2: Up to 6 weeks post-surgery: Along with building on the basic principles, phase two slowly incorporates low-load exercises to strengthen stabilizing muscles, promote joint stability and enhance neuromuscular control. You will continue with slow, controlled movements focusing on the upper body to help prevent weakness and inflexibility. Deep-breathing exercises are important for pain-control, relaxation, and to relieve tightness in the chest and back.

Phase 3: 6 – 10 weeks post-surgery: More advanced upper body exercises. Add rehabilitative lower body exercises if you are healing well. Incorporate a walking program and other light to moderate aerobic activities that involve the use of the lower extremities. Continue with strength and breathing exercises as above.

Phase 4: 10 weeks post-surgery: Include more active aerobic (endurance) activities (e.g., walking at moderate intensities, stationary biking, slow stair climbing). Continue to focus on increasing strength and flexibility. Add gentle lower body exercises if healing well from TRAM flap.

Beyond Phase 4: Continue cross-training with aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises. This phase is intended for experienced exercisers who are capable of working at an advanced level in an unsupervised setting. Before progressing to advanced exercises, patients must consult with physicians.

Pilates Benefits for Cancer Survivors