Exercise can play a huge role in recovery for cancer patients. But knowing how much to exercise during treatment and recovery can be difficult. That's why the Sanford Wellness Center has designed a program specifically for people who are or have battled cancer.
Just one year ago, the gym was a foreign place to 60-year-old Cindy Mattison.
"I was into walking, but I'd never been to a gym," Mattison said.
That changed after Mattison was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and had a double mastectomy.
"You lose so much upper body strength," Mattison said.
"If someone has had surgery, it can sometimes cause muscle imbalances. For example, a breast cancer survivor who may have some sort of surgery to the front area needs the back to be strengthened," Sanford Cancer Exercise Specialist Kim Donelan said.
Recovery after surgery is a popular reason cancer survivors take part in Cancer Launch. The program is designed to help those who were or are battling cancer.
"The nauseousness and the fatigue a lot of individuals feel, a lot of times a little bit of modified exercise is really going to help," Donelan said.
Working out can not only help cancer survivors physically, but also mentally.
"I can come in here some days feeling down in the dumps and tired and dragging. After a good workout, I walk out feeling wonderful. It changes perspective completely," Mattison said.
Mattison also says it's helpful that her cancer exercise specialist battled breast cancer herself almost four years ago.
"I know the other aspect of it. Most people just want to get back to being normal - normal, everyday life and not revolving around the cancer," Cancer Exercise Specialist Michelle Solberg said.
Mattison's life is getting back to normal, thanks to treatment and her own determination.
"The first part of your journey you rely on faith, family and friends to get you through it. Now it's up to me. I have to take care of myself," Mattison said.
All cancer survivors can get a free one-month membership to the Sanford Wellness Center. The Cancer Launch program costs $32 to meet with a cancer exercise specialist once a week for four weeks.