Written by HealthFit Manager Kayla Frimmel
At Sarasota Memorial, cancer care goes beyond just treating the disease. We believe in comprehensive care, supporting cancer survivors’ overall wellness to enable them thrive as they navigate their personal cancer journey. Because mindfulness and exercise are key pieces of the wellness puzzle—regardless of how healthy you are—we’ve made them cornerstones of our integrated cancer care program.
Just over a year ago, Sarasota Memorial launched a series of six different group exercise programs specifically developed for oncology patients. These classes, offered in partnership with Jewish Family & Children Services (JFCS), are free for cancer patients and their support people and are held at HealthFit, Sarasota Memorial’s medically integrated wellness and fitness center on Clark Road.
In its first year, the Thrive Integrated Cancer Care exercise classes helped more than 150 cancer survivors work toward their wellness goals, and according to survey results, these oncology-specific classes have improved quality of life for 94 percent of the surveyed participants.
The primary goal of the Thrive classes is to help cancer survivors—from diagnosis through active treatment and post treatment—as well as their family and caregivers, to heal through mindfulness and exercise. Custom designed for cancer patients, the classes enable survivors to ease back into a gentle exercise program and to better manage stress.
At least 90% of surveyed Thrive participants agreed that the classes improved their physical stamina, sleep, stress and sense of well-being. Additionally, participants found a support network and a sense of community in the classes; 95% said the classes made them feel socially connected and supported.
If you or a loved one are on a cancer journey and are interested in adding mindfulness and exercise to your wellness plan, visit the smhfit.com website
for the Thrive class schedule
, and join us for a free class.
The group exercise classes are open to the public; you do not need to be a HealthFit member to participate. We encourage you to arrive about 15 minutes early for your first Thrive class to complete the one-time paperwork. Here are the therapeutic group Thrive classes currently offered:
Led by a certified yoga instructor, our gentle Oncology Yoga class reduces anxiety, increases energy, and supports physical and emotional well-being. Participants can use props for assistance or can do the movements seated in a chair, if needed.
The 30-minute, guided Mindful Meditation class relieves stress and tension. Meditation helps build awareness of the body and mind, and teaches anxiety-managing techniques.
Oncology Tai Chi:
The Oncology Tai Chi class teaches participants how to manage stress, and increases strength and flexibility. Based on an ancient form of Chinese meditative exercise, the class uses gentle, fluid movements to help participants expand their range of motion at a calm pace.
Oncology Recovery Exercise:
Led by a certified group exercise instructor, the Oncology Recovery Exercise class improves balance, flexibility and strength with light, resistance-focused exercise. Participants can regain mobility and independence through body-weight and light-weight exercises developed specifically for cancer survivors.
HealthFit Manager Kayla Frimmel is an American College of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer. With a master of science degree in kinesiology, she specializes in helping those struggling with obesity, developing employee wellness programs, and mental conditioning for athletes.