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  • Carol Michaels

Staying Positive a Cancer Diagnosis


Cancer has been part of my world for over thirty years. My mother, father, and many other family members and friends have battled this disease. I have cared for and watched loved ones suffer and often die. As a result, one of my life goals was to do whatever I could to help the healing process. I needed to make an impact on a deep level.

As a fitness professional, I worked with people of all ages and fitness levels. My career also brought me in contact with many people who were suffering from the side effects of cancer surgery and treatments. I then determined that I had to help these clients improve their quality of life through exercise, which has proven to be an essential component of the recovery process. This resulted in my creating the Recovery Fitness® cancer exercise program, which was inspired by and is dedicated to these courageous people.

A goal of many people recovering from surgery is to be able to return to the things that they enjoy. Cancer patients often have a difficult time recovering and develop frozen shoulder, stiffness, and numbness due to surgery and treatments. Because many of these side effects can be prevented through proper exercise, I created a series of stretches and strengthening exercises to help eliminate or minimize these side effects.

There is an emotional toll that cancer survivors face in addition to the physical one. A cancer diagnosis can cause depression, anger, anxiety, fear and stress. Proper breathing techniques and stretching can improve the psychological recovery.

For example, research has shown that breathing can help reduce stress and anxiety. When feeling stressed, we usually take shallow breaths. During these exercises we will use our full lung capacity and breathe slowly and deeply. You should be aware of your breathing as it has a calming effect. Inhale for 5 seconds and fill the torso up with air, then exhale from the lower abdomen for 5 seconds, pressing the navel in towards the spine. Imagine all of your tension and stress leaving your body with each exhalation.You should begin relaxation breathing immediately after surgery, as it allows you to focus all your energy on healing. The stretching program will restore mobility in the chest and back that allows for freer movement of the lungs and diaphragm.

Regular exercise has a powerful effect on one’s mood by releasing pain-relieving endorphins. Always start slowly and listen to your body eventually increasing the frequency, length, and intensity of your program. Exercise training is emerging as a therapy to the negative psychological side effects associated with cancer. Make sure your exercise program is fun. Exercising with friends builds a social camaraderie. Group exercise classes provide friendship and support and motivate you to stick to a program. It is important to keep an exercise routine new, fun, and exciting.

Where can you find an excellent exercise class for a cancer survivor? Contact us at www.CarolMichaelsFitness.com. -locations in New York and New Jersey. SKYPE training is available. Our personal trainers have decades of experience working with cancer survivors and we have fitness classes in Bergen County, Essex County and Morris County. In home personal training is available too.

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