Give Yourself the Gift of Movement

RECenters Expand Fitness Options for Cancer Patients

It’s Sunday afternoon at Spring Hill RECenter as a committed group of women sets out on a 45-minute walk around the indoor track. The pace is brisk, the banter is lively, and the camaraderie is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the healing power of exercise. The members of this walking group are connected by one terrifying, shared experience – cancer.

“Exercise helped calm my thoughts and gave me a sense of control during a very stressful time,” said Ilana Gamerman, a registered nurse who faced her cancer battle in 2012.

“My oncologist was very clear,” recalled Michelle Stravitz, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. “The more you move, the less fatigued you will be. It’s counterintuitive, but the research supports that.”

Both women experienced the physical and emotional benefits of exercise during cancer treatment and decided they wanted to help others do the same. In May 2018 they launched, a free web resource that connects any woman who has ever had a cancer diagnosis with exercise resources including fitness buddies, walking groups and Fairfax County RECenters.

“The RECenter commitment is a huge benefit to the cancer community because it increases the capacity for women and men to safely exercise in a supportive environment,” Stravitz said.

In December, 10 RECenter certified fitness instructors completed advanced, specialized training through the Cancer Exercise Training Institute (CETI) to better understand cancer patients’ physical and emotional challenges and better support their unique fitness needs. These instructors are now available to help cancer patients with personal training and group fitness classes at all Fairfax County RECenters, and soon they’ll develop classes and programming designed to help cancer patients stay positive and keep moving through treatment and recovery.

For more information about personal training group fitness classes for cancer patients, contact the fitness director at the RECenter of your choice. To get paired with a fitness buddy, a walking group and other resources for cancer patients, visit


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