VALRICO - Survivors of any kind of cancer, from years ago to the newly diagnosed, as well as their immediate families, are invited to participate in Livestrong at the YMCA, a free, 12-week program to strengthen people physically before and after treatment.
Fitness instructors attend special training in cancer survivorship to learn how to work with limitations caused by treatments and surgeries.
"Studies show that if you can stay physically conditioned, you can respond a little bit better with a little less side effects of some of the treatment protocols," said Maureen Chiodini, Tampa YMCA associate vice president of membership and programs.
This program can help maintain range of motion and increase cardiovascular levels, thus reducing fatigue, and is a social as well as physical-fitness program, said Chiodini.
After Fit First, an initial one-on-one assessment and introduction to the Wellness Center, everything else is offered in groups to strengthen the social component.
"Recurrence of certain cancers is reduced by as much as 50 percent with increased physical activity," said Chiodini. "For a lot of folks who have had cancer, recurrence is a great fear."
Chiodini said, "There's life after the diagnosis. Let's determine what your new normal is; for some of our folks, their new is a lot better than their old, because they weren't exercisers to begin with. It can be a whole reawakening for people."
Send news of community programs to Barbara Routen at Neighbors@tampabay.rr.com.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Livestrong at the YMCA, a free, 12-week program for cancer survivors WHEN: Contact branches for hours
VISIT: www.tampaymca.org for details
WHERE: North Brandon YMCA, 3097 S. Kingsway Road, Seffner; (813) 685-5402
Campo Family YMCA, 3414 Culbreath Road, Valrico; (813) 684-1371
FishHawk Ranch YMCA Express, 16144 Churchview Drive, Lithia; (813) 651-4200
Plant City Family YMCA, 1507 YMCA Place, Plant City; (813) 757-6677