Fit Cancer program moves to CSU; fall enrollment now open for cancer survivors

Video by Avery Martin

A program designed by a Colorado State University professor and master’s student to promote physical activity and its positive health effects for cancer survivors recently moved to campus from a local health club.

The Fitness Therapy for Cancer Program, or Fit Cancer, was started in January 2017 as the master’s thesis of Kelley Covington, under the direction of Assistant Professor Heather Leach in CSU’s Department of Health and Exercise Science. The eight-week program features weekly group exercise sessions with a certified cancer exercise specialist and physiologist, in addition to discussion sessions where patients learn skills to accomplish their activity and wellness goals. Offered three times per year, Fit Cancer helps participants regain strength, improve balance and coordination, reduce fatigue, relieve stress, increase energy levels and learn safe exercise skills with other survivors in a supportive environment.

Kelley Covington
Covington speaks to the audience about Fit Cancer at the Aug. 20 open house.

Move to CSU

Fit Cancer had been conducted at Miramont Lifestyle Fitness, now operated by Genesis Health Clubs, but beginning this fall the program will be run by Covington and students in Leach’s Physical Activity for Treatment and Prevention Lab on campus in the Human Performance Clinical Research Laboratory east of Moby Arena.

At a Fit Cancer open house in the HES Teaching Facility on Aug. 20, Leach outlined the various health benefits that cancer survivors receive from physical activity. Then Covington described the elements of Fit Cancer, from the detailed screenings and assessments that participants undergo to the materials they receive, which include a pedometer, T-shirt, and comprehensive program workbook designed to support an active lifestyle. Feedback from participants — and the physical results — have been positive, she said.

‘Great improvements’

“So far people who’ve gone through our program have significantly improved their physical activity and well-being,” Covington told the audience. “We also see really great improvements in lower body muscular endurance, which as we know is a really important muscle group for basic function, locomotion, and even getting up out of your chair.”

“What we find is that energy significantly improves, and fatigue is significantly reduced after only one exercise session, and this trend continues for the eight-week program,” she added. “So far, people have been very satisfied with our program and the resulting improvements in their health.”

The next Fit Cancer session begins Sept. 17. The cost is $70. For more information or to register, call 970-491-6160 or visit the Fit Cancer website.

The Department of Health and Exercise Science is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.