Are there any types of exercise that are particularly good for women both immediately post-op and later? And any that avoid the risk of causing or exacerbating lymphoedema?
Walking is a great way to get gentle exercise – try to aim for 30 minutes each day. If you have difficulty doing 30 minutes in one go, split it up into smaller walks to total 30 minutes.
It's very important to make sure you get a good base of abdominal and pelvic floor strength. A beginner’s Pilates class would be great for you and show you how to regain core stability.
Another way to get your abdominal strength back is to keep a check on your posture. I often get clients to put little stickers around the house and in the car to constantly remind them about standing and sitting correctly. You don't have to do lots of abdominal curls to get abdominal strength, back to basics is best.
I would highly recommend Aqua fitness. As you get fitter, if you start to find the class too easy, tell your teacher who will be able to suggest more difficult alternatives during the session.
You may want to try swimming again. Start off with one swim each week and see how it goes.