News > 5 surprising benefits of exercise during endocrine treatments

5 surprising benefits of exercise during endocrine treatments

If you’re taking endocrine therapy to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence, exercise may help you manage a variety of side effects.

A collage of women exercising in a variety of ways - Zumba, running, yoga, walking - indoors and outdoors

During LBBC’s recent Navigating risk of recurrence and managing side effects webinar, Evelyn Robles-Rodriguez, an oncology advanced practice nurse at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper and member of LBBC's medical advisory board, offered her expert advice for how to cope with these and other side effects, and one surprising remedy kept coming up: exercise.


1. Get joint pain relief through exercise

Exercise can be a game-changer for joint pain. Ms. Robles-Rodriguez recommends that you start slow with a program of about 5 to 10 minutes a day and, as you feel comfortable, add another five minutes a week until you're doing at least 30 minutes a day.

Though joint pain is a common side effect of aromatase inhibitors, your provider will want to make sure that it's not related to any other issue, so be sure to discuss it with them.


2. Tame hot flashes with physical activity

Hot flashes can be frustrating, especially at night. It may seem counterintuitive (What?! Work up a sweat to avoid getting hot?) but incorporating a regular exercise program can significantly alleviate the intensity of hot flashes. Another benefit? Exercise can help reduce stress.


3. Manage weight gain with a healthy and active lifestyle

Weight gain on endocrine therapies can be discouraging. While there's no magic formula, Ms. Robles-Rodriguez recommends eating a healthy, plant-based diet and staying active are essential. Studies suggest that resistance exercise at least twice a week helps build muscle and break down fat. Be kind to yourself, embrace a healthy lifestyle, and understand that weight fluctuations are part of the journey for many people.


4. Fight fatigue with consistent exercise

The surprising “magic” formula for fatigue is exercise! Engaging in regular, enjoyable physical activities, even starting with short walks or light movement, can significantly improve energy levels and reduce fatigue over time. Stay consistent, and you’ll reap the benefits.


5. Addressing depression: A holistic approach

Depression can be a side effect of tamoxifen, says Ms. Robles-Rodriguez. Exercise, in addition to its physical benefits, has been shown to alleviate anxiety and depression. Antidepressants, counseling, and psychological support are available options; be sure to discuss these options with your healthcare team for a holistic approach to mental well-being.

The take-home: Consider starting a simple exercise routine, such as walking, light strength training, yoga, or stretching. You can also find plenty of exercise videos on YouTube, too, such as LBBC’s BeACTive series, which is specifically designed with you in mind. Finding an activity you enjoy and gradually incorporating it into your routine can be a powerful tool for relieving physical and emotional side effects, and ultimately improving your quality of life during and after treatment. LBBC is here for you as you find the balance that works for you.

Watch the webinar recording below to benefit from the full discussion of side effects and potential solutions.


Additional resources


Stay connected

Sign up to receive emotional support, medical insight, personal stories, and more, delivered to your inbox weekly.