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How To Design Your Own Exercise Program

July 25th, 2013 |
Health & Fitness, Survivorship

by Lockey | Survivor: Breast Cancer    Connect

Before beginning an exercise program after cancer treatment, it's important to design a routine specifically for you so that you can successfully reach your goal. Read more for some tips from Lockey on how to design your own exercise program.

Let's say you decided you were going to climb Mount Everest but you've never climbed a mountain before. What would you do first: buy a ticket to Nepal, or learn a bit about mountain climbing and what it takes to progress from walking to climbing the world's largest mountain? Chances are, you would learn what it takes to climb a mountain first.

Starting a post-treatment exercise program follows the same thought process. Before jumping into exercise, you have to examine a few things in order to learn how to design an exercise program tailored to your needs and goals.

Please remember, before starting any exercise program, it is very important to speak with your doctor, especially if you are taking medications, have lymphedema, peripheral neuropathy and/or you are recovering from surgical procedures and/or medical treatments of any kind.

Do a Self Assessment
Use the worksheet below to make note of any discomfort in the areas indicated. Are you tight or weak? Are you experiencing pain in any of these areas? This assessment will help you determine areas you need to strengthen or stretch as you create your program. Once you are aware of the areas that need a bit of attention, you will be able to make educated choices in creating your program.

Things to consider when creating your program:
  • Time - How long do you have to exercise?
  • Safety - Check with your medical professional first, then take is slow and progress at your own pace.
  • Intensity - How far do you want to push yourself.
  • Progressions - Increasing the level of difficulty safely.
  • Fun - If you don't enjoy yourself, you probably won't do it.

Over the next few weeks, I will share 3 exercise programs that cover all of the above elements based on beginner, an intermediate and advanced programs. Each program uses bodyweight exercises that build in progression from the previous program. Before advancing to the next program you should be able to complete 3 sets of the exercise portion without feeling winded.

Please remember to check with your medical professional before starting any exercise program and consider your own goals and limitations (refer to the Self-Assessment chart above), or send me an email and I'll help you out with exercise choices.

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Lockey's picture
Lockey Maisonneuve began her fitness career in 2004 as a personal trainer. In 2006 after being diagnosed with stage III breast cancer, Lockey underwent chemotherapy, bilateral mastectomies, radiation and saline implant reconstruction. During this time, Lockey experienced the benefits of exercise from the perspective of a breast cancer patient. She found first-hand the importance of exercise for both physical rehabilitation, as well as for emotional well being. To empower other people during and after their cancer treatment, she founded MovingOn , a rehabilitative exercise program, in 2009. Lockey has conducted MovingOn in hospitals, community centers and health clubs throughout New Jersey and also lectures on the importance of exercise for cancer patients and cancer survivors. Her certifications include CPT, NASM, CCES, Cancer Exercise Specialist.