Walking Club, Steps Out for Cancer Survivorship

October 14, 2014
By: Vanessa Gruver, Administrative Fellow, Duke University Hospital

Cancer survivor Shirley Maness steps out with Emily Lewis, a fitness specialist with the DCI, for a Healthier Happier You. Since adopting a regular exercise regimen, Maness has lost more than 50 pounds.According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), cancer survivors, including those undergoing treatment, can benefit from exercise.

“In the past, many physicians prescribed rest for their patients diagnosed with cancer,” said Emily Lewis a fitness specialist with the Duke Cancer Institute Genitourinary (GU) Oncology Group and Survivorship Center. “At a recent roundtable of the American College of Sports Medicine members recommended new guidelines strongly urging exercise for cancer survivors. These guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.”

In an effort to provide a means for cancer survivors to focus on health and wellness, Lewis is organizing Healthier Happier YOU, a walking group custom designed for Duke oncology survivors.[expand title="Read More"]

“Some studies show that cancer survivors engaged in an exercise regimen can experience decreased symptoms and improve quality of life,” said Lewis. “Our walking program will promote exercise while bringing former cancer patients together in a fun and encouraging environment.”

The walking group is made up of individuals who, each in his or her own way, understand the survivor’s journey. Whether a cancer patient has recently finished with treatment or is a longtime survivor, members of Healthier Happier YOU uniquely support one another every step of the way.

Shirley Maness was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer four years ago and serves as a prime example of the benefits associated with regular physical activity.

“My husband and I set a goal to exercise at least one hour each day,” said Shirley, who has been cancer free for three years. “Exercise has become a part of our daily routine.”

Shirley has lost 50 pounds since focusing on healthy lifestyle choices and incorporating regular physical activity. Shirley proves that having a partner or group to exercise with, in her case, her husband, can offer accountability and lead to long-term success.

“When I work with patients, like Shirley, I’m encouraged to develop more opportunities for cancer survivors,” said Lewis.

The new walking group will set aside time for goal setting and information sharing. The program provides material on educational and community resources specifically geared toward health and wellness for cancer survivors.

Starting Tuesday, Oct. 28, Heathier Happier YOU walking club will meet at the entrance to Duke Gardens every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m., Thursday at 5:30 p.m. and Friday at 7:30 a.m. Details on an exact meeting location will be provided at the time of registration.

To learn more or to register for the Healthier Happier YOU walking club, please contact the Duke Cancer Institute Survivorship Center at 919.681.4707 or survivorship@dm.duke.edu.

Vanessa Gruver is a Duke University Hospital Administrative Fellow serving primarily with the DCI team as part of the second year of her fellowship. A native of Pennsylvania, she received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in health administration from Penn State University.