7 Things Your Gym Can Do for Cancer Patients and Survivors
1. Offer a clean, safe, and welcoming facility
A doctor or other health professional’s primary concern when referring his or her cancer patients is the safety and well-being of those patients. They will look for a club that is clean, safe, not intimidating to their members, and staffed with knowledgeable people ready to help their patients succeed.
2. Consider a flexible training plan or program
For someone undergoing cancer treatment, the ability to exercise depends on treatment schedules, medicine side effects, and fatigue symptoms, among others. Consider a plan or program that allows flexibility in attendance and training to accommodate more challenging days or weeks.
3. Feature low-impact programming
Many cancer patients suffer symptoms like fatigue and nausea as side effects of their treatment. Consider offering low impact options like yoga or tai chi to encourage attendance on more difficult days.
4. Address nutrition and diet
Cancer treatment or the cancer itself can have an impact on diet, with many treatments resulting in unintended weight loss. Consider offering dietitian services (if you have an R.D. on staff) to cancer patients and survivors as part of their membership or program fee.
5. Offer a structured program
Large health clubs can be intimidating to many people, especially those who aren’t feeling their best. Providing a structured program offers a guided introduction to the club, and exercise with instruction and support that can be less intimidating.
6. Foster opportunities for support and community
Offer regular opportunities for participants to meet with other people going through the same challenges, such as a weekly support meeting or adding 10 minutes of discussion or sharing to the beginning of training sessions.
7. Help keep the focus off cancer
Sometimes the best thing you can do for someone undergoing cancer treatment is to help them restore some normalcy. Try not to put too much focus on cancer care, and make an effort to ask about hobbies, interests, and other topics.
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