• biking through chemo

    Biking Through Chemo

    At 13thirty Cancer Connect, we dedicate peer programs to the following categories: arts, wellness, and social. Because of the current social distancing guidelines, it may seem hard to access activities in any of these areas. This may even feel familiar to social distancing experienced during cancer treatment. We know how important it is to feel connected to one another and to maintain healthy routines. While we can’t host in-person workout programs right now, we can’t stress enough how important it is to keep taking care of yourself whether you’re in treatment, in maintenance, or into survivorship.

    Inpatient Exercise

    Matthew Simon was about to start his sophomore year on his high school crew team when he was diagnosed with leukemia. His inpatient treatment lasted three weeks, but felt far longer because of the lack of social contact and physical activity that he was so accustomed to before treatment. Eventually, Matthew began using an exercise bike right in his hospital room to help his emotional and physical needs. He said getting regular exercise improved his mood and made him feel like he was contributing to his treatment with this healthy habit. Chemo treatment can make you feel fatigued and even depressed. Regular exercise can help combat these feeling while improving muscle retention and self esteem. Read more about Matthew’s story and other AYAs living with cancer who were able to use exercise bikes during treatment on the Washington Post.

    Modify & Move

    Before setting up a workout routine, learn your limitations. Make modifications where you need it in order to have the most effective workout. Check with your health care provider, physical therapist, or personal trainer about what workouts are suitable for you and where you are in your cancer journey. Remember, “any movement is better than no movement.”

    Stay Motivated

    Ways to stick to a workout routine:

    1. Invite a Friend – Plan to workout with someone else you live with or video chat a friend
    2. Schedule Time – Set up calendar notifications to remind you to exercise
    3. Partial Workouts – Even if you can’t complete a full workout, try and complete a portion
    4. Reward System – Work out after watching a show and once you complete it, you can watch the next episode
    5. Good Listening – There’s plenty of playlists, podcasts, and audio books available for free

    What’s your at-home workout routine like? Can you use any of these tips to improve it? If you have a tip we didn’t list here, tell us in the comments below!

    Look out for updates on virtual programs!

  • 13thirty Fit!

    Rochester Program – AYAs – Continue our 8-week fitness program and getting strong together!

  • 13thirty Fit!

    Rochester Program – AYAs

    Continue our 8-week fitness program and getting strong together!

  • 13thirty Parent Fit!

    13thirty Fit!Syracuse Program – Parents – The 8th week of 13thirty Parent Fit! is finally here! Our trainer, Michelle, will help us finish strong these last two weeks. Spouses and partners welcome! 13thirty Parent Fit! Syracuse has recently been opened up to parents of kids with cancer of any age – children, teens, and young adults.

  • 13thirty Fit!

    Rochester Program – AYAs – Continue our 8-week fitness program and getting strong together!

  • 13thirty Fit!

    13thirty Fit!

    Program of the Month

    13thirty Fit!

    Every Wednesday for the last four weeks, parents of our teens and young adults have met at our Syracuse center for 13thirty Fit!, an eight-week program designed to help develop healthy workout habits easy enough to do at home without expensive equipment or gym fees. The program, led by our oncology-certified fitness coach, Michelle Dougan, from Elevate Fitness, includes personal goal setting and an hour-long workout each week. Everyone’s favorite songs from the 80’s keep us moving!

    On our third week, we shook things up in Syracuse and invited parents to bring their kids to the program that night. Partner workouts proved to be just as challenging and even more fun than our usual workout routines. A little friendly competition between our parents and kids made us try even harder! Like all 13thirty Cancer Connect programs, peer support is an important element of our fitness programs. Working out with someone can motivate you to work out more often and stay accountable to your goals.

     

    13thirty Fit! History

    13thirty Fit! has been offered at our Rochester center to AYA members and parents since 2012 when it was first designed as part of a research study at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. The goal was simple and still the same: help AYAs regain their former level of fitness and self-confidence in a safe, judgement-free environment. In both Rochester and Syracuse, 13thirty Fit! is held in our warm, comfortable center with friends who understand what it’s like and fitness coaches who can modify exercises to accommodate individual needs.

    Assessment data collected from participants before and after each program consistently point to improved functional fitness and enhanced self-efficacy. Periodic “Quick Fit” sessions held throughout the year supplement the eight-week program and help remind members to keep working on their fitness goals.

    Work out with us again!

    Remember, the Syracuse fitness room is available for individual workouts during regular office hours for both AYAs and parents! Just bring your signed medical release form and call Megan ahead of time at (315) 883-1862. Here’s how to find us! Find out what else is going on in Syracuse here.

    Interested in 13thirty Fit! – Rochester? Contact Rochester Program Director, Steve Esposito, for more information at 595-563-6221 or visit us!

  • 5 Ways to Stay Healthy this Summer

    I don’t know about you, but it feels as though every May, I start mapping out all the awesome summer plans I have; swimming, being at the lake with friends, trying new restaurants, attempting a roadtrip, hiking, and looking forward to warm summer evenings around bonfires. Pinterest and Instagram are filled with snapshots of happy people seemingly having the time of their lives (which, of course, is hardly ever the case!).

    But, suddenly it’s mid-July, and I haven’t accomplished most of that!

    Maybe time is flying by for you, too. But as the days get busier and fuller with things to do, we tend to let our health slide to an after-thought. As cancer patients and survivors, it’s even more critical to pay attention to our health and wellness, and to be careful to make space for relaxing and stress-relief!

    Here are five easy ways we can focus on staying healthy this summer!

    • Put the phone down.

    Let’s be honest- whether you’re in the hospital right now while it seems all your friends are out living “carefree” summer days, recovering at home with energy levels that require more naps than endless summer nights, or you’re back at the routine of life and trying to keep up with the everyday, social media is an easy way to lose track of time and create a severe case of FOMO (fear of missing out). summer

    Give yourself a break! You’re doing great! Schedule times in the day when you let mindless scrolling happen – but don’t forget to turn the phone off for a while and connect with actual, real life.

    • Rest! 

    One of the hardest things to do is listen to your body. When we ignore our need for rest and recovery, we cause ourselves more harm than we realize. Find what makes you feel rested: reading, a nap in the hammock, taking a second to breathe and practice mindfulness. In a culture where being “busy” makes us feel most productive, it’s imperative to our healing to take time and rest.

    • Protect your skin.

    With skin cancers continually on the rise, it’s not surprising that sunscreen usage is even more important these days! Make sure your sunscreen is as natural as possible (i.e., no cancer-causing chemicals!), as it only takes about 20 seconds for anything applied to your skin to reach your bloodstream! Visit the Environmental Working Group’s website for a list of best sunscreens to use this summer.

    • Eat local!

    Seasonal fruits and veggies will nourish your body and spirit this summer! Visit your local farmer’s market, or gather up some friends and go blueberry-picking at places like Wild Hill Farm, or look for the “Locally grown” signs in your favorite grocery store to support sustainable growers  summerin your area! When you buy produce in-season, you are saving money and eating the freshest, most nutrient-dense, immune-boosting foods.

    • Enjoy the little things.

    Practice gratitude. No matter where you’re at this summer – whether life looks exactly like you want it, or you’re facing an uphill battle right now – every day is a new day to be thankful for the little blessings. It’s not always easy to see the bright side, but the more you practice being grateful for the small things, there’s something beautiful that happens inside of you. When you can see beyond your current circumstances and see a glimmer of light, it’s life-giving and strengthening.

    No matter the season, your health should always be a top priority.

    Whether you’re starting from scratch or you’re already working on living a healthy lifestyle, it’s always easier when you have support and encouragement! At 13thirty Cancer Connect, we’re here to support you in your whole wellness journey through connections with each other, our 13thirty Fit! programs, yoga and massage, activities and events that bring us together (like our 2017 Bandana Bolt!) and helping adolescents and young adults (AYAs) impacted by cancer live their very best lives – today! Check out our events page and follow us on social media (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!) to stay up-to-date on how to get connected!

     

    About the Author

    Sabrina Gauer is our Communications Coordinator and Wellness Coach here at 13thirty Cancer Connect! Follow her blog and Instagram for more tips and encouragement for whole health and wellness living!