Geauga YMCA offers LiveStrong program for those touched by cancer –

Posted: November 22, 2019 at 4:47 am

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Cancer survivor Jane Zajaczkowski claims that her experience with the LiveStrong program at the Geauga YMCA has been one of transformation.

Because of LiveStrong I feel like a caterpillar who is in the process of transforming into a butterfly, she said.

The free 12-week program, a partnership between the LiveStrong Foundation and many YMCAs in the U.S., works to improve the overall health of those affected by cancer through exercise and support.

I am able to try new ways of exercising to improve my strength, balance, and overall fitness level," said Zajaczkowski."I had no idea that there were so many different ways to exercise a body.

LiveStrong program participants take part in an exercise program at the Geauga County YMCA.

Twice each week the Parkman Township resident meets with others who have been affected by the disease to take part in cardio workouts, water aerobics, weight training, yoga and more.

Workout plans focus on strength, flexibility and cardio endurance and are customized for each participant.

It has to hit all those elements but there are a million different ways to do thatyou see what thing is going to unlock it for each person, said Geauga Y personal trainer and wellness coordinator Nicole Wilson, who oversees the LiveStrong program. Weve done barre, Zumba, cycling and pickleball. Its totally adaptable.

The program was initiated at the Geauga Y in the fall of 2018 with a donation from University Hospitals and continues with financial support from other major donors and fundraising campaigns.

Although relatively new to Geauga County, the LiveStrong Foundation and the national YMCA organization have been partnered in the effort since 2008.

Wilson said that she and the other instructors have witnessed the programs impact.

Trainers see so much, she said. Its not only gaining physical strength its gaining emotional, mental and intellectual strength.

She also noted that the empowerment developed by participants helps them to realize that the disease doesnt solely dictate what their body can do.

Cancer survivor Marie Williams of Middlefield had never considered any type of gym activity before or after her diagnosis until a medical professional suggested LiveStrong as a way to help with her recovery.

Besides feeling more physically fit, I am thoroughly enjoying the fellowship of our group, Williams said. The other participants are inspiring and uplifting. We encourage each other. We laugh at the pitfalls of having two left feet in our attempts at line dancing. Some of us havent been in a pool in decades, and together weve discovered the fun of water aerobics. I could go on and on.

Our instructor spurs us on with enthusiasm, compassion and humor," she added. "They understand our needs. They laugh and cry with us. It is hard to find words to express my appreciation for their presence in my life. At this point they are not only instructors. They are friends.

Wilson noted that approximately 60 percent of those who take part in LiveStrong continue exercising at the Y after the program ends. Several have become workout buddies and hold each other accountable for sticking with the healthy routine.

The next Geauga Y LiveStrong program will start in February. Intake sessions begin in January. Neither Geauga County residence nor Y membership is required.

Those who are just diagnosed, are in treatment or in any stage of recovery/remission from cancer are invited to participate.

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Geauga YMCA offers LiveStrong program for those touched by cancer -

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November 22nd, 2019 at 4:47 am

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