Livestrong at the YMCA

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LEXINGTON The YMCA of Central Kentucky and the LIVESTRONG Foundation offer health and wellness programming for cancer survivors through the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program. The program is free and open to anyone who has had a cancer diagnosis.

Intended to offer hope and health, the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program is designed to strengthen and support cancer survivors on the road to recovery after their treatment regimen. This 12-week, small group program is designed for adult cancer survivors who have become deconditioned or chronically fatigued from their treatment and the disease itself. Participants meet twice per week and engage in physical activity under the care of specially trained LIVESTRONG at the YMCA coaches. Numerous studies have illustrated the positive effect of exercise on recovery from cancer treatment. Physical activity not only helps cancer survivors regain strength and stamina, it elevates one’s mood to help combat stress and depression. The LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program is evidence-based and is guided by an expert panel of oncologists and exercise physiologists from the LIVESTRONG Foundation and the YMCA of the USA.

One of the most unique aspects of the program is the diversity of the participants – anyone with a cancer diagnosis is invited to participate. Prior to beginning the program, participants meet with YMCA staff to discuss their health history, potential physical limitations, and personal goals. The program is individualized for each participant – it is the best of both worlds – the camaraderie of a small group and the personal attention of an individualized daily plan. The primary goals of the program are to build muscle mass and strength, increase flexibility and endurance, and improve functional ability. Additional goals include reducing the severity of side effects, preventing unwanted weight changes, and improving energy levels. Along with cardiovascular exercise and strength training, participants engage in other activities such as spinning, water exercise, TRX, yoga, and Pilates.

Perhaps the greatest benefit and goal of the LIVESTRONG program is to provide a supportive social network. Participants work with specially trained staff with distinct understanding and skills needed to assist cancer survivors in their pursuit of health and well-being; and the program’s participants themselves become a unique, caring reinforcement along the way. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA classes form tight bonds, and the environment is incredibly supportive and friendly. In the words of LaDonna, cancer survivor and former LIVESTRONG at the YMCA participant, “It’s not what you’ve been, it’s what you can become.”

The Y is pleased to offer LIVESTRONG at the YMCA and to bring our strength, commitment, and passion to this work. Since the program’s inception in 2011, over 200 cancer survivors have benefited from the program. To learn more about this wonderful, free service to the community, contact Dave Peterson at 859-367-7374. Live happy, live well, and LIVESTRONG at the YMCA of Central Kentucky.

THE LIVESTRONG PROGRAM OFFERS THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS – THE CAMARADERIE OF A SMALL GROUP AND THE PERSONAL ATTENTION OF AN INDIVIDUALIZED DAILY PLAN.

Dave Peterson is the director of Community Health for the YMCA of Central Kentucky