Pilates Program for Cancer Recovery


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Cancer RecoveryCancer treatment is known to have side effects like decreased energy level, muscle weakness and declines in functional status and body mass. Exercise regimens that prevent de-conditioning and enhance strength and balance, such as Pilates, can be very effective in ameliorating the neuromuscular effects of treatments.

Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Recovery

  • Enhances energy levels
  • Improves balance and control
  • Increased tolerance of toxic medications
  • Aids weight management
  • Reduces feelings of anxiety and depression
  • Improves self-confidence
  • Decreases stress and tension

"Exercise may be one of the best things you can do for yourself during and after your cancer treatment. Remaining active during this period was key for me in getting through metastatic testicular cancer in the best possible shape, both physically and mentally. In fact, I firmly believe that my exercise program – specially designed to accommodate my treatments and resulting change in physical ability – got me into the mental and physical condition that was necessary for me to be able to win the Tour de France."
Lance Armstrong, Cancer Survivor, 7-time winner Tour de France

You do not have to be a professional athlete to benefit from physical activity during and after cancer treatment. The American Cancer Society recommends physical activity and exercise instruction as a component of comprehensive cancer care.

Pilates Exercise Program for Cancer Recovery

Almost any exercise can aid cancer patients in treatment or recovering from treatment. However, Pilates has proven to be one of the safest exercise programs for a cancer survivor. Pilates offers a non-impact introduction or reintroduction to exercise that can help cancer patients regain physical endurance and emotional health. Pilates is a total body workout that increases circulation, flexibility and strength. Pilates is a natural exercise choice for individuals battling lymphedema. Pilates breathing techniques and exercises help encourage lymphatic flow, reducing swelling. The Pilates workout can be easily modified to accommodate any injury, imbalance or weak area of the body.

The assistive exercise options in Pilates are a good starting point. There are endless options to challenge the client as he or she moves through treatment and physically improves. The cancer survivor can achieve small goals rapidly, which helps with overall sense of achievement and well-being.
Mary is certified and experienced in working with clients undergoing cancer treatment or cancer recovery. She understands the complexities and uniqueness of each individual’s treatment program and physical capabilities.

She starts each new client with a private one-on-one meeting. Mary discusses the client’s goals, problems and current physical condition. She also evaluates medical information provided regarding surgery and treatment, to understand physical limitations and implications on activity. Mary then develops a custom Pilates exercise program that will aid the cancer survivor’s recovery. The program is then modified as the client advances in their cancer treatment and their physical abilities improve.