The Importance of Being Physically Active During Cancer Treatment

by on June 19th, 2015


In the years past people who suffered from chronic illness like cancer were told by there physician to reduce their physical activity. In some cases reducing physical activity could be the right recommendation if they have limited mobility or excessive pain from their cancer treatments.

Physicians are now encouraging their cancer patients to be as physically active!

Too much rest can lead to loss of body functions and muscle weakness. The number one reason why people with chronic illness are not physically active is due to the over whelming amount of medicines/chemicals that are flowing throughout their bodies resulting in fatigue. But if you can manage and have the stamina to be physically active, studies have shown that your quality of life can improve. When most people hear the words exercise and physical activity they automatically assume lifting weights and that can be intimidating for some. But there are a variety of ways to increase your heart rate and work up a sweat through aerobic activities. Some activities include: taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to lunch, walking the dog and even mowing the lawn. Typically, the goal should be at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three days or more (but please meet with your physician before starting a training program).

The benefits one can achieve through being physically active during cancer treatment can tremendous. Through physical activity one can maintain or lose that undesired weight. Another commonly forgotten benefit of cardiovascular exercise is improving your balance and strengthening your bones. Getting outside and being active can be a relieve stress and boost self esteem. Through exercise you can lower blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. One of the biggest advantages of exercise during cancer treatment is the reduction in nausea. With a reduction of nausea your odds of being physically active will increase dramatically. This is a compiling effect. If you start working out it can reduce nausea and you will feel better thus wanting to be physically active.

A growing number of studies have looked at the impact of physical activity on cancer recurrence and long-term survival. Exercise has helped to improve cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength, body composition, fatigue, anxiety, depression, self-esteem, happiness, and several quality of life factors in cancer survivors. According to The American Cancer Society, “At least 20 studies of people with breast, colorectal, prostate and ovarian cancer have suggested that physically active cancer survivors have a lower risk of cancer recurrence and improved survival compared with those who are inactive”.
Before engaging in any physical activity one should consult their doctor and review their blood count. Medications from certain cancer treatments can affect your lungs and heart. Medications like bleomycin or doxorubicin can put you at risk for injury. One should take precautions before exercising, if you have low white blood cell count or take a medication that lessens your ability to fight infection then one should stay away from any public gyms. Do not exercise if the amount of minerals in your blood such as sodium and potassium are not at a safe level.

With the stigma of not being physically active during cancer treatment being debunked, one should consider the plethora of advantages you can achieve through being physically active during cancer treatment. Starting an exercise program can be a big task for an individual. Starting slow and building up your routine is essential. The key to introducing physical activity and exercise and begin your journey to become a more active and healthy person is to find activities you enjoy and look forward to so that you can improve your fitness and have fun!

By: Rich Schultz, Leisure Fitness Outreach Wellness Associate – Article written from my experiences

Physical Activity and the Cancer Patient.

Leisure Fitness Wellness Professional Network – Meet the Trainer: Michael Hartman

by on April 23rd, 2015

Leisure Fitness Trainer Network includes a variety of fitness professionals and in this MEET THE TRAINER segment we would like to introduce you to Michael Hartman.

INTERVIEW w/ Michael Hartman, NSCA­CPT and AFPA Certified Nutritionist and Wellness Consultant:
Training Location – Wyomissing, PA

-At what age did you become physically active?
I started playing sports at 5.

-Did you play sports in high school and/or college?
I played Baseball from 5 years old to 18. I also played football in middle school and high school.

-Did you study health and fitness in an academic setting? (degrees in exercise science, physical education, kinesiology, etc.)
I hold a B.S. Kinesiology from Penn State University

-How do you seek out continuing education?
I must complete 18 CEU’s every 3 years for my NSCA-CPT certification. I meet these criterias through writing, attending seminars and completing additional certification courses.

-Do you specialize in a training style?
I specialize in muscle building and fat loss for clients ages 14 – 77 (the oldest i’ve worked with)

-What is your coaching style? (Cheerleader vs. drill sergeant)
I would say I am a realistic trainer I try to work with my clients on their diet and exercise program without trying to put them through a professional athletes routine. Unless of course that is what they want. I believe I’m very supportive at trying to give them all the very best tools to succeed in their program.

-Do you include a health assessment prior to beginning a fitness program?
Clients do a verbal health assessment with me to assess their goals and to start putting their workout plan and execution into place.

-How frequently do you see your clients? (Once a week, twice a week?)
I see my clients on average once per week but as often as three times per week and as little as once a month. The frequency depends on their previous exercise experience and fitness level.

-What kind of clients do you usually work with and what results were they trying to attain?
Generally I get two types of clients.

  • Trying to lose weight, tone up, or feel better. (I have had 20 people lose 50 or more lbs)
  • Trying to build muscle or gain mass to feel stronger and gain self confidence. ( I have had 4 people put on more than 40 lbs of raw muscle


-Where did you get certified to be a personal trainer? (N.S.C.A., N.A.S.M., and A.C.S.M. are the gold standards)
NSCA-CPT and AFPA Certified Nutritionist and Wellness Consultant

-How do you program and track the client’s progress?
It depends on a clients individual goal. Generally waist and hip measurements are taken for someone trying to lose weight for someone trying to build muscle it is based off of their strength and if they are gaining muscle while maintaining the same bodyfat percentage.

-Do you stay on top of the latest fitness trends and related research?
I read Strength and Conditioning, Psychology, and Physiological Research Periodicals and I also read the latest trends in magazines and online resoures such as or Muscle and Fitness

-Do you hold liability insurance?
Yes from HPSO (Healthcare Providers Service Organization)

-Why did you embark in this profession?
I played baseball and football throughout school and upon entering 9th grade I began to lift weights 3 days per week. I was always a chubby kid struggling with my weight. I was always active but soda and bread were steeples in my diet growing up.

In 10th grade I injured my back fielding an onside kick for my football team. I seriously injured my back to the tune of 6 months of physical therapy. During that time it was a challenge to stay as physically active as I would have liked so I gained some weight. My max was 245 pounds. My 11th and 12th grade years were spent running and lifting and eating right to lose that weight which brought me down to a small 180lbs. From XL shirts to M shirts.

From there I began to bulk build muscle. I decided I wanted to be a fitness professional because friends started asking me how I lost the weight and how I was able to achieve such hard muscles. I began reading everything I could about supplementations and I picked the brains of my gym teachers and football coaches endlessly to learn as much as I could.

I applied to PSU and Temple for school and was accepted to both. I chose PSU. I started as an undecided major but quickly switched to kinesiology after the Director of LA FItness reached out to me to see if I would be interested in training. I didn’t have a certification at the time so he told me what I needed to do. So I went to a weekend personal training course passed my exam and began training.

I had many mentors over my first two years who had bodybuilding experience and many years in the industry. They taught me all kinds of things and fielded my endless questions. After six months of training I entered the Kinesiology program at PSU.

I spent 5 years completing my education while learning as much as I could about running a fitness business, personal training, and nutrition.

Then I decided I wanted to go out on my own. That when Formal Fitness Training was born in August 2011. I have been continuing to grow and get traction in my area. As of now I work with 35 clients and am currently beginning boot camp classes and also am in negotiations for corporate wellness program with a local dental office.

I have so much respect for the industry and I look forward to staying involved with fitness, nutrition, sports, or supplementation in some aspect for the rest of my life!

An injury or setback will not define you; it’s how you respond that will set the stage for the man or woman you will inevitably become. A positive mindset is everything and a desire to succeed. Some days you need to dig deep to breath fresh air and achieve your goals. Every second counts. Take nothing for granted and work hard. Great things will come to those who work for it and continue to try even against some of the most difficult of circumstances!

Check out Formal Fitness Training on Facebook