Regular exercise is critical to well-being. Exercise enhances weight control, lung and heart health, stamina enhancement, and even stress relief. Exercise, although most people realize that it is beneficial, may also help people who have cancer avoid getting it. Cancer patients should perform cancer exercises as part of their treatment plan since they enhance muscles weakened by surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. They also avert problems such as weakness, immobility, and pneumonia. Cancer patients should engage in aerobic workouts, resistance training, and stretching. Below is an interview regarding the three keys to effective cancer exercise:
I have an interview for you today with Dean Somerset.
Dean just created a program for fitness professionals who work with clients who have cancer:
Let’s get right to the questions:
RK: You have done a few guest blog posts for Exercises For Injuries. Tell us more about yourself as it applies to exercises and injuries.
DS: I’d love to say that I got into this because I was interested in helping others from a casual observer and altruistic stance, but, in all honesty, I had a lot of first-hand experience with injuries. Growing up as a dumb jock, I injured pretty much every place that could be damaged, and, as a result, I learned a lot about injuries from my own experiences.
I initially wanted to get into physiotherapy, but the dumb jock in me wanted to stay in the performance realm. The gym rat in me did not want to work in a clinic, so I decided to get a degree in kinesiology along with some other certifications that would let me work with an extensive range of clientele in the most effective way possible. I currently have a CSCS designation and a Medical Exercise Specialist designation, and I am also working on completing a Certified Exercise Physiologist designation this coming summer.
Being a Personal Trainer
I’ve been working as a personal trainer for the past ten years, and over the last four years have been the Medical & Rehabilitation Coordinator for World Health Club, a health club chain with over 20 locations in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta. I work with the medical referrals in and out of our company and with the medical communications with over 100 allied health practitioners to ensure a continuum of care throughout recovery. I’m also trying to have insurance providers recognize personal training as a viable tool in the rehabilitation process.
I’ve also taught workshops, seminars, and courses to over 1000 fitness professionals across North America. I have also co-authored with you, Rick, and some other cool people on Muscle Imbalances Revealed. And I also write a very excellent (and incredibly witty) blog at www.deansomerset.com.
3 Things Should a Fitness Professional Do
RK: What three things should a fitness professional do with a client recovering from cancer?
DS: The most important thing is to treat them like everyone else, precisely like others who have some medical dysfunction, injury, or even need assistance with simple goal setting.
I’m sure no one out there wants to be coddled or told “poor you” by everyone they meet, and I’m sure your clients don’t want that either. Be empathetic, expect them to get better, and keep them optimistic about their training and health.
Ask about their day, the weather, their bratty kids, or even which team will win the Stanley Cup this year. Make them feel comfortable knowing that you acknowledge their disease but are willing to look past it to see who they are and what they can do.
The gym is a filthy, disgusting place full of sweat, bacteria, dirt, and other things that can make someone with a compromised immune system sick. Keep their workout areas spotlessly clean. Ensure they wash their hands or use a sanitizer after using any equipment. They may get sick and even die if they become ill, so be sure to carry a sanitizer like a six-shooter and clean everything they touch before and after using it.
Make Client Fit
Last, but certainly one of the most redundant, is to make them fit. As long as they can handle slightly higher intensities in the right part of their treatment schedule, push them a little. Provide them with a physical outlet where they can see some progress.
It’s a misconception that cancer patients are not capable of benefiting from exercise; in fact, everyone can benefit. A woman who had just finished chemotherapy tried to finish a marathon at a university research facility where I worked. She began with slow, short runs and eventually ran seven miles per hour. She was bald as a result of her treatment and finished a half marathon in just under four hours and 32 minutes, one year after her diagnosis and a month after her final treatment.
It is Rick again.
Thank you so much, Dean.
I will be back tomorrow with more of the interview with Dean.
Until then, take care.
Rick Kaselj, MS