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General Diet, Activity, and Exercise



Staying at a healthy weight by eating well and being active helps ​your body stay strong and healthy as you recover and cope with side effects from breast cancer surgery.

Healthy eating means eating many different foods that give you the nutrients you need to be healthy, feel good, and have energy.

Canada’s Food Guide is a general resource for eating well. The Canada Food Guide tells what types of foods to eat and their serving sizes. If you need help to stay at or get to a healthy weight, talk to your healthcare team. They can refer you to a dietitian or an exercise specialist.


It’s normal to feel tired after surgery. Plan ahead, ask for help, set priorities, and don’t do too much at once. Increase your activity slowly so you don’t get too tired. Remember to stop and rest before you get tired.

Your recovery will take 2 to 6 weeks or longer if you’ve had immediate breast reconstruction. Keep using your arm as normally as possible, unless you’re told not to.

General Exercise

Regular exercise is important, especially exercise that gets your heart and lungs working harder. Exercise can help with your recovery from surgery and has many benefits. It can help you:

  • Improve your fitness—how well your heart, lungs and blood vessels bring oxygen to your muscles.
  • Keep a healthy body weight.
  • Feel better, which may lower feelings of stress and anxiety and help you deal better with the challenges of life after cancer.
  • With constipation.
  • Have more energy.

Talk with your healthcare team about how much activity is right for you. Work toward 30 minutes of activity most days. Even if you can’t do much at the beginning, a small amount of activity is helpful.​​

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