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Strengthen your recovery

A Pilates program following breast cancer surgery

'Strengthen Your Recovery' is a gentle exercise program using Pilates techniques. It is designed to help you recover from breast cancer surgery at your own pace.

BCNA developed these videos in 2012 with the expertise of Fiona Eakin, a breast cancer survivor and qualified Pilates instructor, and the generous support of the Estée Lauder Companies. This Pilates program is supported by the Australian Physiotherapy Association.

Strengthen Your Recovery is structured to follow the stages of your healing after surgery.

Session 1 introduces small, easy actions that can be done immediately and up to 10 days after surgery. These first basic movements can be done while you are still in hospital or lying in bed once you get home.

Session 2 provides exercises for 2 to 5 weeks after surgery and teaches gentle shoulder movements and stretches which can be done while you lie in bed, stand in the kitchen or sit at your desk.

Session 3 gives you more advanced variations to add at approximately 6 to 8 weeks after your surgery

Session 4 gives you a 20-minute program that covers the basics right through to some more challenging stretches.

Strengthen Your Recovery is designed to help:

  • relieve neck, shoulder and back pain which are common complications
  • reduce the risk of lymphoedema developing
  • prevent restrictive scar formation and shoulder stiffness
  • restore normal posture after surgery
  • improve general flexibility, strength, confidence and wellbeing
  • re-educate muscles to move efficiently
  • improve or maintain muscle tone for a faster recovery
  • work towards overall conditioning and improve general wellbeing
  • increase lung capacity after an operation/anaesthetic.