For many people who have been diagnosed with cancer, surviving the disease is the first phase of their journey. Trying to reclaim their health and deal with the side effects during and after cancer treatments such as fatigue and loss of strength is the second phase.
A recent study reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Oncology by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center, found that of all the studies they could find on the various ways to help cancer patients get their energy back, exercise was the clear winner.
Ways regular exercise may help you during cancer treatment*
- Keep or improve your physical abilities (how well you can use your body to do things)
- Improve balance, lower risk of falls and broken bones
- Keep muscles from wasting due to inactivity
- Lower the risk of heart disease
- Lessen the risk of osteoporosis (weak bones that are more likely to break)
- Improve blood flow to your legs and lower the risk of blood clots
- Make you less dependent on others for help with normal activities of daily living
- Improve your self-esteem
- Lower the risk of being anxious and depressed
- Lessen nausea
- Improve your ability to keep social contacts
- Lessen symptoms of tiredness (fatigue)
- Help you control your weight
- Improve your quality of life
In 2011, the Lancaster Family YMCA began supporting cancer survivors as they worked to regain health and wellness through an exercised-based cancer recovery program. The program – which has now transitioned to the national LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program – is offered free of cost at all our Y branches to men and women recovering from any form of cancer.
In LIVESTRONG at the YMCA, cancer survivors are led through weekly group and individual exercise routines by a Y Personal Coach who is trained to understand and help meet the needs of someone dealing with cancer. The program also offers a holistic approach to recovery by incorporating classes on nutrition, fatigue management and coping skills.
The many cancer survivors who have gone through the program say it helped to increase their energy, and in some cases, they felt stronger and able to do more physical activities than before cancer. But while cancer recovery at the Y is helping to build stronger bodies, the program also fosters strong social and emotional ties among the participants. For many participants, these bonds have been just as beneficial to their recovery as the exercise routines.
The Lancaster Family YMCA has designated October as Cancer Survivorship Month at the YMCA.
Learn more about the activities in October that will help raise awareness and funds in support of cancer survivors and LIVESTRONG at the YMCA.