Anyone who's been diagnosed with cancer knows how tough the fight to beat it can be. Many survivors say they also have difficulty returning to physical activities after their treatment.
That is why the YMCA created a program to increase quality of life and decrease cancer fatigue, and some participants in Colorado say it has been life saving.
"It takes oxygen into every cell of my body, just working out," said Eileen Eastridge, who is battling metastatic breast cancer. "And, it makes me happier."
Eastridge is a two-time graduate of the Livestrong program at the Littleton Family YMCA. It's a free 12-week fitness program for cancer patients and survivors. Certified trainers help participants improve their physical well-being as they go through and recover from cancer treatments.
"Our primary interest is seeing some cardiovascular improvement and then our secondary measurement is on strength," explained Cate Majors, Senior Manager of Health & Well-being. "They meet with an instructor twice a week, make some initial assessments, take measurements and then track their progress over time."
Eastridge says the program has made a big difference in her life, especially after medication has left her feeling weak.
"They tested me for strength and endurance, and for flexibility and balance," she told CBS News Colorado, "and I've shown improvement in all of those areas."
What she didn't expect, however, was an improvement in her emotional well-being. Participants also gather in groups during their training sessions to talk about their cancer journey and offer one another support.
"Just the conversations that we've had, they've been life-changing," Eastridge said. "I have a really supportive family, but they don't get it like people here do."
Eastridge says the community at the YMCA has been critical in her cancer battle. She will continue to lean on the friends she's made and the trainers as they have given her strength, in every sense of the word.
"It makes me live strong!" she said with a smile.
The Livestrong program is available for all cancer patents, no matter what stage they're in – from stage 1 to remission.
LINK: Livestrong Program
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