In recent years, it has become widely accepted that exercise is beneficial for people battling cancer. The American Cancer Society Guidebook now includes exercise guidelines. But for many cancer patients, starting an exercise program is just not that easy. Their radiation and chemotherapy treatments leave them feeling exhausted and unmotivated to do any physical activity. In addition, many people may experience anxiety in joining a health club with a cancer diagnosis, feeling that they may not use it, or worse: stand out in the crowd.
This is where Cancer WellFit comes in. Cancer WellFit is a powerful program that combines skilled exercise instruction with a welcoming, support-group atmosphere. The program was started in 1993 by a breast cancer survivor in California who was passionate about helping others get through cancer treatment with peer support and regular exercise.
ACAC offers Cancer WellFit in partnership with Martha Jefferson Hospital. The 10-week program includes two small-group exercise sessions each week, supervised by two specially trained instructors and lasting one hour per session. During that hour, participants are encouraged to exercise within their tolerance level that day. Although the sessions are run in groups of four to 10, each participant's program is tailored to his or her needs and abilities. Our hope is that the one-hour time slot allows plenty of time to socialize with other participants and develop a true support system along the way.
The exercise program typically centers on resistance training, since weakness related to muscle wasting is a known by product of radiation treatment. Participants start slowly, with only a few exercises, and progress only as tolerated. The program also includes cardiovascular training to keep the heart strong and healthy, as well as flexibility training. Mind-body training such as yoga and Pilates may be added to help reduce stress and expose participants to alternative exercise options.
If you feel Cancer WellFit is right for your patients, please contact us for information or to make a referral. Thanks to a grant from the 2007 Martha Jefferson Golf Classic through the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation, patients at any of our area hospitals can join Cancer WellFit free of charge. The Program includes not only the twice-weekly sessions, but a 10-week membership to ACAC. Participants enjoy the benefits of being members of the club along with the help and support of the Cancer WellFit Program. We hope that through generous gifts such as this, we can help more patients in this area enjoy higher quality of life while fighting this terrible disease.
For more information on Cancer WellFit, please contact Kathleen Findley at (434) 978-3800 or email@example.com.