When you include the American Institute for Cancer Research in your estate plans, you make a major difference in the fight against cancer.

Corporate Champions who partner with the American Institute for Cancer Research stand at the forefront of the fight against cancer

The Continuous Update Project (CUP) is an ongoing program that analyzes global research on how diet, nutrition and physical activity affect cancer risk and survival.

A major milestone in cancer research, the Third Expert Report analyzes and synthesizes the evidence gathered in CUP reports and serves as a vital resource for anyone interested in preventing cancer.

AICR has pushed research to new heights, and has helped thousands of communities better understand the intersection of lifestyle, nutrition, and cancer.

Read real-life accounts of how AICR is changing lives through cancer prevention and survivorship.

We bring a detailed policy framework to our advocacy efforts, and provide lawmakers with the scientific evidence they need to achieve our objectives.

AICR champions research that increases understanding of the relationship between nutrition, lifestyle, and cancer.

AICR’s resources can help you navigate questions about nutrition and lifestyle, and empower you to advocate for your health.

AICR is committed to putting what we know about cancer prevention into action. To help you live healthier, we’ve taken the latest research and made 10 Cancer Prevention Recommendations.

April 18, 2012 | 3 minute read

What Activity Can Give to Survivors: Advice from a Trainer

Today’s issue of Cancer Research Update highlights the latest research in how exercise helps cancer survivors. We asked Mary, an exercise physiologist and AICR consultant, to share her experiences in working with cancer survivors.

I taught a strength training class for cancer survivors for several years. That experience allowed me to see first-hand the incredibly important role exercise plays in the healing process. My class was open to survivors of all ages and ability levels, though most were new to strength training when they started. Over the weeks and months of class, I saw a transformation in every person—both physically and emotionally.

Physically, the participants grew to trust their body again. Many showed up the first time afraid of pushing too hard or doing something that might derail their recovery. Many were also battling fatigue and were afraid of feeling even more tired. But we started slowly, sometimes with stretches or without using weights. By the end of the first class, most were surprised and proud of how much they were able to do, and more importantly how good it made them feel. As their physical fitness improved, so did their strength, confidence, and overall happiness.

The emotional transformation of the participants was equally dramatic. A cancer diagnosis is frightening and can leave people feeling isolated. The class offered a venue with an unspoken understanding and acceptance of those feelings. Participants were able to talk freely about how they were feeling and what they were going through. They formed emotional connections as they worked to make their bodies more fit and strong.

If your doctor has given you the go-ahead to start exercising, I have two pieces of advice:

1. Just do it! Without a doubt, exercise is one of the best things you can do to help you through life after treatment. Don’t focus on what you can’t do, just commit to doing something. Start off slowly and listen to your body; you will be amazed at how good it will make you feel.

2. Find the support you need. There is not a one size fits all way to get active. You may want to do it alone, with the guidance of a book or video. Or you might want the support of others. Be honest with yourself and find the resources you need to be successful.

Mary demonstrates simple exercises for breast cancer survivors in this video: Exercise for Breast Cancer Survivors.

Mary Kennedy, MS, is an exercise physiologist certified by the American College of Sports Medicine.

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