The Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Patients and Survivors
By Amy Kurman, Program & Volunteer Coordinator 
Keeping in mind the abilities of the patient before diagnosis, and during treatment, more care-providers are recommending and sometimes prescribing exercise for cancer patients. The benefits of exercise are clearly recognized as improving physical function and overall well-being.

By all reports regular physical activity can improve life expectancy after a cancer diagnosis and can significantly improve overall quality of life. Harvard Medical School reports that the results of many clinical trials indicate that exercise during treatment is associated with improved physical mobility, energy levels, weight/BMI, fitness, strength, sleep quality and quality of life as well as significantly reduced anxiety and depression. According to the American Cancer Society continued physical activity in addition to maintaining a healthy weight and healthy diet, may help reduce the risk of a cancer recurrence. Cancer survivors are encouraged to maintain an exercise routine after treatment ends as well.

Finding the type of exercise that suits you best is important to keep yourself motivated and avoid injury. You may want to try gentle yoga, go for regular walks or join an exercise class designed for cancer patients and survivors. If you haven’t been active before, it is best to have the guidance of an experienced instructor.  It is always best to do what you enjoy doing, stay as active as possible and only do as much as you can do. Start slow and talk to your doctor before you start an exercise routine.

All classes offered by the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center are focused on keeping fit through gentle motion and stretching. All levels are welcome.  All classes are free and open to those living with cancer and their caregivers. Listed below is a description of one of the exercise classes we offer. Check our website for a listing of classes in Yoga, Chi Gong, Walking Meditation and Tai Chi. For more guidelines on exercise and cancer recovery check these websites: 

Be In Motion Exercise Class with Samantha Williams
Every Tuesday and Thursday 11:00 AM – noon
At the University of Maine Machias, Fitness Center
Cancer Exercise Specialist Samantha Williams leads this gentle exercise class designed for those who have had a cancer diagnosis or are currently in treatment. This is also open to cancer survivors and caregivers. The focus is on restoring range of motion, encouraging lymph drainage and muscle strengthening. In this class Samantha provides strategies to start moving and stay moving.  [Medical clearance from a physician must be obtained before starting.] Offered in collaboration with Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center Cancer Care .