Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cancer Patient: Hit the Gym

Wendy Rahn, 46, an associate professor of political science at the University of Minnesota, knows this well. After a double mastectomy, her shoulders hurt so much that she was often hunched in pain. Then, while researching her illness, she discovered a 2005 study on cancer and exercise.

“The effects — what we call effect sizes in statistical research — were enormous,” she said, “and I was like ‘How come no one is talking about this?’ ” She had given up exercise a decade earlier, but the study inspired her to go back to the gym.

“I started feeling so much better,” she said. “And it struck me that if I’m feeling this good, then every cancer survivor should.”
clipped from
Sponsored by Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, this class for cancer patients has been around for some time, mostly in a league by itself.
in recent years, following studies that found exercise to be beneficial in combating the effects of cancer, the class has gained some company.

Gyms and fitness centers have begun stepping in to meet a small but growing demand for programs designed to not only hasten recovery but to address the fatigue of chemotherapy, the swelling of lymphedema and the loss of muscle tone.

A new program from the Y.M.C.A., in partnership with the Lance Armstrong Foundation, offers cancer fitness classes

“There used to be this understanding that if you’re getting treatment you’re supposed to be in your bed,” said Pam Whitehead, an architect and survivor of uterine cancer who started the Triumph Fitness Program at gyms in Modesto and West Sacramento, Calif.

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