By Joan Pagano - September 25, 2013
After cancer surgery, it is normal to experience changes in posture. You may feel tightness or pulling in the chest and shoulder area or in the abdominal region which can affect the normal curves of the spine. Poor posture can cause additional strain and discomfort, while improving your posture can bring relief.
The first step to getting your good posture back is to stretch out the tight areas. (For helpful stretches see previous post, Stretches to Reverse the Forward Slouch) The next step is to strengthen weak back muscles and restore proper alignment.
These two easy exercises use a stretch band to target the mid-back and posterior shoulder areas. Stretch bands come in three weights: light, medium and heavy. The light band has a lot of "play" in it, meaning it stretches more easily than the heavier bands, allowing you to move through a full range of motion.
In the first exercise, Horizontal Abduction, try to pull the band all the way in to the top of your chest. In the second, External Rotation, try to rotate your forearms outward as far as possible.
To begin, use a light band and do 10 repetitions of each exercise. When you can do 10 reps easily, add another set of 10. Of course, always check with your doctor before beginning any new exercises!
Joan is author of the best-selling book Strength Training for Women and owner of Joan Pagano Fitness in New York City.