Cancer Exercise as a Part of Recovery

“I would encourage anyone affected by cancer to join Survivor Fitness class. You can work at your own pace. Jen does a great job by changing the routine day to day; she will guide you with what fits your needs. I recommend this class for support and better recovery. I am a non- Hodgekin’s lymphoma patient, 16 years in remission.” David M.

By Jen Schimek

Cancer is a serious disease second only to heart disease as the leading cause of death in the US. More than 17 million new cases of cancer are predicted to be diagnosed this year. As the population ages, the number of people facing cancer increases. Nearly half (42%) of these cancers can be prevented through healthy lifestyle changes. 20% of all cancers are directly caused by a combination of poor nutrition, excess alcohol intake, physical inactivity and excess body weight. Regular exercise specifically helps those facing a cancer diagnosis by improving overall fitness, therefore increasing survival rates and quality of life.  

Cancer and cancer treatments can take a huge toll on the body. Some of the side effects are vision or hearing loss, loss of speech, a decline in mental cognition, problems with balance and coordination, poor posture, trouble walking or holding objects, chronic pain and neuropathy, and the list goes on. With the help of a Cancer Exercise Specialist, survivors no longer have to accept the fact that they have limited range of motion, poor posture, lymphedema or chronic fatigue following their treatment. Regular exercise can help to reverse many, if not all, of these physical ailments. 

At 125 LIVE, we believe no one has to face cancer alone. The Cancer Survivor Fitness program at 125 LIVE is so much more than just a group fitness class. This program is entirely free to 125 LIVE members and gives you direct access to a Cancer Exercise Specialist. The program includes a quality of life interview and a physical assessment that includes posture, balance, range of motion and corrective exercise specific to individual needs. Participants in this group get the chance to find common ground with others in a caring, supportive environment while improving their overall fitness. The sessions start out slowly with specific instructions and modifications for every participant’s unique individual needs. Steady aerobic activity is combined with strength training to create a well-balanced, all-inclusive, feel-good workout. Each session ends with a seated stretch and short meditation to balance mind, body and spirit; a moment of peace in an otherwise chaotic world. 

Living with cancer and undergoing treatments can take its toll on the body; every day will be different with some days being better than others. Rest when you need rest and exercise when you feel good. With 3 sessions each week, participants will have plenty of opportunities to exercise. 125 LIVE’s Cancer Survivor Fitness program is held every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11:00 a.m., and each session runs for six weeks. If you or anyone you know would like to enroll in 125 LIVE’s Cancer Survivor Fitness program, call member services at 507-287-1404 or email

Check out all of 125 Live’s Medical Wellness & Physical Therapy classes and support groups here.

Scroll down to watch Jen’s cancer tips videos.

Jen Schimek is a CETI certified cancer exercise specialist, NASM corrective exercise specialist, AFAA certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor and is also the operations coordinator at 125 LIVE.