Exercising doesn't have to mean running "X" number of miles on a treadmill. In fact, you can get fit while you sit, and they are proving that in Mitchell. Cancer patients and their families are grabbing a chair and a new lease on life.
"Get Fit While You Sit", it sounds like an oxymoron, but it really does work. Instructors from the Avera Queen of Peace Fitness Center in Mitchell developed this program 2 years ago with cancer patients and their families in mind, taking in to account what they're going through physically and emotionally.
Cindy Riddle is one of the Fitness Instructors along with Registered Yoga Instructor Mary Lou Greenway. Riddle says, "Not only does it help combat their fatigue, but it helps boost their energy, boost their immune system so they feel better. Plus, they are exercising in a group setting so it's more fun.
Lou Mayer from Mitchell will tell you that this is a lot more fun than the aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatment we went through recently at the Avera Queen of Peace Cancer Center in Mitchell. His last treatment was in March of '08.
Mayer says, "Yeah, it was a struggle. I hope I don't have to go through it again."
In September of 2007, Doctors found a tumor on Mayer's spine. They concluded he had lung cancer that had spread. Right around the same time, Avera Queen of Peace started this 6 week to 8 week exercise program that's offered in the Spring, Fall and Winter. Lou and his wife Karen were regulars. Every Tuesday morning for 30 minutes folks are invited to come to the lobby to stretch, strengthen and socialize.
Riddle says, "Emotionally, it's a big boost. It gives them a better outlook, you know, just to get that blood flowing and circulating. They think I can do this. And no matter what they can do, we encourage to only do what they are comfortable doing. If they've had a treatment that day they may have to go a little lighter. Some days are better than others. We all know that.
One of the things they really work on is leg strength and the quadriceps since we all use our legs to sit and stand and climb stairs. The experts say once that muscle is gone, it's gone.
Mayer says, "Yeah, it seems like I get around a little better because of the class."
And that's exactly what the fitness experts were hoping for. They want patients to feel better, to forget cancer for a few minutes and to feel the circle of support around them.