Exercising Safely After Cancer

edoebel | October 15th, 2020

“Many cancer survivors will return to their workouts unintentionally doing more harm than good by performing the wrong exercises. They may participate in an exercise class or hire a trainer to keep them motivated and help them to reach their goals,” states Evan Franzmeier, Buena Vista Regional Medical Center Fitness and Health Center Manager. “Our Certified Cancer Exercise Specialists have the level of knowledge needed to safely and effectively work with survivors in a safe and effective exercise plan.”

Individualized programs provide the tools and confidence needed to work safely and effectively with patients and survivors of cancer at all stages of their recovery journey. The three Cancer Exercise Specialists at BVRMC Fitness and Health Center recognize an important area of concern for breast cancer clients is lymphedema.

Lymphedema, caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system, is most commonly caused by lymph node removal or damage due to cancer treatment. The lymph can become backed up and swelling occurs in the arm of the affected side. Left untreated, lymphedema can result in decreased arm function, range of motion in the arm and shoulder, finger function and numbness in the hand, and swelling in the entire arm, hand, and fingers.

Doing something as simple as walking for a half-hour each day can make a big difference. It is never too late to start exercising if you have been diagnosed with cancer.

The Center Cancer Exercise Specialists work with the client and their primary caregiver to guide them through a slow, low repetition, but progressive individualized exercise plan. The exercise plan incorporates proper breathing and the contraction of their muscles to assist in moving the lymph fluid to an area where it can drain more efficiently.

“We advise our cancer clients of certain conditions under which they should not exercise,” states Nancy Marshall, BVRMC Fitness Specialist. “We make them aware of precautions to avoid or manage upper extremity lymphedema. Our goal is to help the client develop a feeling of empowerment and strength as they take charge of their health and healing.”

BVRMC Fitness & Health Center is dedicated to supporting those in their cancer fight. Our unique and individualized programming will help improve the patient’s ability to cope with the mental and physical stress following cancer diagnosis and treatment.


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