The Northwest Georgia Regional Cancer Coalition partners with Summit Quest, healthcare facilities throughout the region, and the Rome YMCA to provide a fitness program for cancer survivors and their families. The program is designed to meet the individual needs of the cancer survivor and improve the quality of life for survivors by helping them regain the strength and fitness they need to enjoy life with their families. Participants meet individually with a personal trainer to complete a strength and conditioning program as well as learn about various forms of group exercise and healthy living activities. Family members of the cancer survivor are also included in the program and encouraged to be active together at the YMCA or the Wellness Center in their community.
Cancer Survivors face many challenges as they complete treatment and re-enter their normal lives. Many times they are fatigued and tired from their treatment its side effects. Survivors often find themselves feeling weak and not quite up to engaging in activities they once enjoyed with family and friends. They also experience feelings of depression and low self esteem, affecting everything from their own self confidence to positive personal relationships with their spouses. And, of course, there is the ever present worry that the cancer will return.
The Survivor Wellness program takes participants through a 16 week strength and conditioning program to help cancer survivors rebuild the fitness and stamina to once again enjoy activities with family and friends, improving their overall quality of life. Exercise has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, body composition, fatigue, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, happiness, and several components of quality of life (physical, functional, and emotional) in cancer survivors. Working with a cancer certified personal trainer ensures that the survivors receive an individualized training plan that helps them to achieve their own goals.
The NWGRCC has had 152 cancer survivors and an additional 300 family members (also survivors) complete the 16 week fitness program at regional wellness facilities. Participants reported through pre/post assessments that they were feeling stronger, more energetic, and more confident about their ability to participate in activities of daily life. They also reported feeling happier and enjoyed more positive relationships with spouses and other family members. Participants were encouraged to try additional forms of exercise such as group aerobic classes, water aerobics, and yoga. Through Summit Quest, participants are also invited to take part in outdoor recreational activities to further expand their knowledge of healthy living and promote longevity and life long health through exercise. A main focus of the Survivor Wellness program is to promote the continuation of exercise activity beyond the conclusion of program.