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Personal Fitness & Training

The bodies of mesothelioma patients have undergone profound changes because of the disease and treatment, which means that it is probably not recommended for them to participate in regular fitness training classes. However, patients who would like to get involved in exercise training, should look for classes conducted by an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) /American Cancer Society(ACS) Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer. Keep in mind that before beginning any exercise program, you should consult your doctor .

What is an ACSM/ACS Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer?

This type of exercise professional works specifically with individuals who:

  • were recently diagnosed with cancer
  • have not yet begun treatment
  • are currently in treatment
  • have latent effects from the disease or treatment

The most important criterion for patients accepted into these types of programs is that there are no extenuating health conditions that would prohibit them from participating.

What Special Knowledge Do These Professionals Have?

The education training these fitness experts receive make them qualified to:

  • Understand and discuss cancer diagnoses, surgeries, treatments, and side effects.
  • Understand and discuss how exercise may improve a cancer patient’s overall quality of life and possibly improve prognosis.
  • Understand and describe the specific benefits cancer patients can receive from this training and the risks associated with exercise training while in treatment and afterward.
  • Select an appropriate exercise program and/or modify the program based on the patient’s needs.
  • Understand the increased risk cancer patients have for injury and other complications from exercise.
  • Ability to evaluate any negative impact the patient may be experiencing from exercise training and how to modify the exercise program to avoid them.

What are the Requirements for Certification?

A Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer candidate must meet the following basic requirements:

  • An American College of Sports Medicine or National Collegiate Athletic Association – accredited exercise/fitness certification
  • Certification in adult CPR and the usage of Automated External Defibrillators
  • Either a bachelor’s degree in any field and 500 hours of experience training older adults or individuals with chronic conditions, or 1000 hours of experience training older adults or individuals with chronic conditions. This experience includes exercise testing, exercise prescription, group or individual training, group or individual client education, academic coursework and/or continuing education, internships or observational hours in an oncology setting and/or cancer rehabilitation program.

Research Shows that Exercise Does Benefit Cancer Patients

In an article titled “Physical Fitness Training: Outcomes for Adult Oncology Patients”, published August 2004 in Clinical Nursing Research, researchers observed that 45 cancer patients were able to make significant fitness gains during an eight week period. They also noted that exercise was important for cancer patients because too much rest and too little physical activity results in “diminished physical fitness, reduced functional status, impaired cognition, and diminished quality of life.”

The scientists recommended that a fitness program for cancer patients be coordinated by an exercise physiologist, certified trainers, and an advanced practice cancer nurse to eliminate any patient concerns about injury.

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