Southampton, NY—Cancer touches the lives of millions of Americans every year, and it is no secret that treatment has debilitating effects on the body. However, in 2010, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) changed its guidelines for cancer patients from “bed rest is best” to “avoid inactivity.” The guidelines now suggest about 150 minutes per week of moderately intense aerobic activity and at least two days of muscle strengthening exercises. Studies have shown that exercise helps decrease fatigue in cancer patients as well as improve sleep, reduce nausea, build tolerance to chemotherapy, and boost mood and self-esteem.
Strength for Life, a Long Island-based 501(C)(3) non-profit, provides free exercise classes specifically designed for cancer patients and survivors. The organization has been hosting several eight-week sessions a year at The Ed & Phyllis Davis Wellness Institute at Southampton Hospital, with the first one of 2017 currently underway. Each session consists of a weekly one-hour “full body” workout class that utilizes resistance bands, stability balls and floor mats provided by Strength for Life for participants to keep.
“The Ed & Phyllis Davis Wellness Institute is so happy we are able to assist with making the Strength for Life program available in the community,” said Patti Cronin, the Wellness Institute’s Coordinator. “Aside from the exercise aspect of it, the participants also get a social and educational experience as well. It is truly a wonderful and important program that really aids in the recovery process.”
Strength for Life was founded by Debbie Hughes and Jacqui Errico in 2007 in memory of Evelyn Knapp, an exercise physiologist and owner of many fitness facilities throughout Long Island who died of cancer in 2005. To date, the organization has helped over 1,700 cancer patients and survivors regain their “strength for life.”
“Strength for Life not only provides professional exercise instruction for cancer patients and survivors, but has also become a source of emotional support of our participants,” Debbie said. “To have an environment where you can express yourself and your concerns, while doing something extremely positive at the same time, empowers our survivors and helps them feel a sense of control on their cancer journey.”
"The class becomes more that an exercise session—the camaraderie and support is unimaginable,” Jacqui added. “Strength for Life might bring them together, but the survivors make the magic happen.”
To learn more about Strength for Life, visit www.strengthforlifeny.org.
For more information about The Ed & Phyllis Davis Wellness Institute, visit www.hamptonswellnessinstitute.org.