Exercise Oncology

Breast Cancer

This section is dedicated to Patricia Castle, a hard working entrepreneur, mother of three who beat this awful disease and is living a healthy and happy life.  Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among females.  Fortunately, due to advancements in medical technology and earlier screening and detection, the survival rates are high and continue to rise. Treatment typically involves surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy or a combination of any of these. While these techniques can be successful at removing cancerous cells and tumors, often times they lead to physical side effects that may affect your function and require some modifications to exercise.

Personalized exercise programs improve these symptoms among others:

  • Range of Motion
  • Lymphedema
  • Low Bone Mineral Density
  • Muscle Atrophy

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers among males. The survival rate has increased dramatically in recent years. Unfortunately, some of the treatments can leave survivors with decrements in physical and mental capability. There is a wealth of research supporting the safety and efficacy of exercise, particularly resistance exercise in prostate survivors. More importantly, the physiological adaptations to a combination of resistance training and aerobic training can attenuate and almost reverse the decrements associated with treatment. Therefore it’s highly recommended for prostate survivors to emphasize a progressive resistance-training program. The addition of cardiovascular training will complement this with some aerobic adaptations and may aid in reducing blood pressure and improving body composition.

Personalized exercise programs improve these symptoms among others:

  • Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT)
  • Bone mineral Density
  • Atrophy 

Colon Cancer

  • Body composition 
  • Ostomy

Lung Cancer

Lung Cancer is the leading cause of cancer related death among men and women in the United States. Recent statistics suggest that almost 30% of cancer mortality is related to lung and bronchus cancer.  Unsurprisingly, there is a strong dose-response relationship between smoking and lung cancer, with smoking accounting for almost 90% of cases. 

Lung cancer is divided into two categories for diagnostic and prognostic purposes: small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Those with SCLC often exhibit a more advanced stage of the disease. NSCLC accounts for approximately 80% of lung cancers and includes certain cell carcinomas and adenocarcinoma. Treatment of the disease is dependent on the severity and progression of the disease. Treatment can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of treatment. 

Personalized exercise programs improve these symptoms among others:

  • Range of Motion
  • Cardiovascular and pulmonary changes
  • Range of Motion
  • Muscle Atrophy

Other Cancers

The field of exercise oncology is in its infancy and ever evolving. Researchers are constantly investigating different exercise modes on different cancer types, and those undergoing different treatments. Unfortunately, the most researched cancers are often those that are most common. So, we have a much clearer picture of the safety and efficacy of breast, prostate and colon cancer than others.

For researchers to investigate a certain type of cancer, we must find a large enough number of survivors to participate to be able to provide us with sufficient evidence to draw conclusions about the effect. Therefore, more rare forms of cancer still need a lot of work to investigate the safety and efficacy of different modes of exercise.

Nevertheless, the success of research in other cancer types gives us confidence to suggest that exercise may be well tolerated in other types. In any case, survivors should consult a trained health professional before starting an exercise program. The intensity and duration should start low and gradually progress over time. The survivor should perform exercises while monitoring symptom response and aim for the most amount of physical activity possible that can be tolerated safely. 

Side effects

With localized cancer, the majority of side effects are going to be localized to that region (e.g. poor upper body range of motion for breast cancer survivors). There are some common side effects that can be acute, lasting days, or chronic, lasting weeks, months and even years post treatment. A survivor can experience pain, fatigue, neuropathy and impaired immune function. Ultimately, all survivors will respond differently to a diagnosis, the cancer itself and its treatment; and knowledge of this can help individualize an exercise program to suit a survivors needs.

Physical Activity

Physical activity has been shown time and time again to be safe and effective in a broad range of cancers. There is a great deal of research still to be conducted on more rare forms of cancer and investigating different modes of exercise, optimal dose-response etc. In the mean time, the general consensus from every governing body of cancer care is to AVOID INACTIVITY. Most likely, a survivor still receiving or having recently completed treatment is not going to be able to hit the recommended levels of physical activity immediately. The key is so start with as much as you can handle and gradually build up. Ultimately this will serve to get your body accustomed to a new stimulus, and hopefully bring with it some lifestyle changes that will be long-term and help reduce the risk of recurrence and cancer-related mortality. 

Pre/Post Bariatric Surgery

Whether you are trying to lose weight on your own, exploring options for bariatric surgery or recovering from surgery, congratulations! You are taking steps toward living a healthier life! Exercise is an essential part of losing weight and keeping it off. We realize that many individuals living with -and trying to conquer- obesity are challenged to maintain healthy levels of physical activity due to chronic pain, musculoskeletal issues or other complications. Optimum Health & Fitness is a supportive environment with experts dedicated to your health.

Optimum Health and Fitness is a partner with the Exercise is Medicine for Cancer program.

There is a wealth of research supporting the role of regular physical activity (depending on the type) in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases. Almost any physiological parameter (immune function, blood lipid profile, bone health, strength, muscle mass, aerobic capacity) can be measured. Moreover, the evidence supporting the efficacy of physical activity to improve quality of life, measures of anxiety, depression and overall mental health is astounding. 

Exercise is Medicine is not just a catchy phrase- it really is medicine. Just like medication alters hormones, chemistry or pathways in your body, so too can exercise. Without going in depth into physiology and biochemistry , exercise physiologists view exercise just like any other medication. They prescribe it in doses (just like your physician would give you X mg's of a pill), see how you tolerate it, and modify according to symptom response. Unfortunately, although we have made great strides in showing physicians and professionals alike the safety and efficacy of exercise, it's still nowhere near where it needs to be.

For more on the Exercise is Medicine Program, click here: www.exerciseismedicine.org.

Neurological Diagnoses


A stroke occurs when blood flow is interrupted to part of the brain. Without blood to supply oxygen and nutrients and to remove waste products, brain cells quickly begin to die. Depending on the region of the brain affected, a stroke may cause paralysis, speech impairment, loss of memory and reasoning ability, coma, or death. A stroke is also sometimes called a brain attack or a cerebrovascular accident (CVA).

Some important stroke statistics:

  • More than half a million people in the United States experience a new or recurrent stroke each year
  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability
  • Stroke kills about 150,000 Americans each year, or almost one out of three stroke victims
  • Three million Americans are currently permanently disabled from stroke
  • In the United States, stroke costs about $30 billion per year in direct costs and loss of productivity
  • Two-thirds of strokes occur in people over age 65
  • Strokes affect men more often than women, although women are more likely to die from a stroke
  • Strokes affect African Americans more often than Caucasians, and are more likely to be fatal among African Americans

Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

This program is dedicated to Kibria’s grandfather who battled Parkinson’s for the last years of his life and later circum to this debilitating disease in May of 2015.

Usually beginning in a person's late fifties or early sixties, Parkinson disease causes a progressive decline in movement control, affecting the ability to control initiation, speed, and smoothness of motion. Symptoms
of PD are seen in up to 15% of those ages 65-74, and almost 30% of those ages 75-84.  PD affects approximately 500,000 people in the United States, both men and women, with as many as fifty thousand new cases each year.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune disorder affecting movement, sensation, and bodily functions. It is caused by the destruction of the myelin insulation covering nerve fibers (neurons) in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).

Generalized Treatment for the mentioned Neurological Diagnoses

Treatment may include but not limited to:

  • Strength and endurance training
  • Balance and coordination exercises
  • Gait training

Optimum Health & Fitness has individual and group exercise programs focused on balance, flexibility, muscle strength and endurance to help you maintain your independence and be confident in your daily activities. OHF is a safe, friendly environment where those with neurological diagnoses can feel comfortable in their surroundings and confident with the staff that care for and support them. After your initial evaluation, you will be placed into a membership program and you can sign up for a variety of classes specifically designed for your needs, including Movement Group Exercise, mobility work for Movement Disorders and small group training, up to 4:1 ratio, in the gym with a trainer.

Osteoporosis / Osteopenia

(The Silent Disease)

Osteoporosis means "porous bone." It is often called the "silent disease" as it depletes bone mass without symptoms and pain. Ten million Americans are estimated to already have this disease, which is predominantly seen in females. Osteoporosis is not just a women's health issue. There are rising rates of osteoporosis for men.  A low testosterone level in men can increase the risk for this disease. It is projected to increase by 50% during the next 15 years.

Exercise is an important part of prevention and treatment. Weight bearing exercises increase bone minerals and density that over time can dramatically reduce the severity of osteoporosis. Bones respond to weight training just as muscles do. They grow and get stronger. At Optimum Health & Fitness we can assist the osteoporotic client with the following intervention: weight bearing and strength training, postural stability and balance along with patient and family education. It is NEVER too late to take action to take care of your bones. The sooner you start, the better! The actions you take will make the difference!

Peripheral Vascular Disease

Peripheral vascular disease (PVD) refers to any disease or disorder of the circulatory system outside of the brain and heart. The problem occurs when fatty material (plaque) builds up on the walls of your arteries and causes the arteries to become narrow and stiff. They cannot widen properly to increase blood flow when needed. This can lead to cramping and discomfort in the legs due to decreased blood flow and oxygen to the muscles. At Optimum Health & Fitness we use the latest research to help combat this condition.

Fall risk

Many older adults often limit physical activity because they are afraid of falling or have a history of falls. An inactive lifestyle can actually lead to a greater risk of injury due to a fall. Fall prevention exercises are crucial to maintaining muscular strength, building endurance, and improving balance to get through your everyday activities safely. Increased physical activity can also build confidence and enhance your ability to remain independent.

Our Optimum Health & Fitness staff will provide a safe and supervised exercise treatment program to help you remain active, be confident and stay safe. By working with all aspects of your health history and combining resistance training with coordination/balance exercises, you can reduce your risk of falls and minimize injuries associated with a fall.

Additional Special Populations

  • Pulmonary conditions
  • Orthopedic & Musculoskeletal Issues
  • Prenatal/ Post Partum


"After two weeks of exercise, my doctor took me off one of the blood-pressure medicines, and I feel stronger on the golf course than I have all summer."

Bobby , a 35 year old Dia-Beat-It! client

I needed to learn when and how much to eat before exercise. I become adept at counting carbohydrates and continue to exercise on my own, consulting with Optimum Health & Fitness whenever needed.

Stefanie 82 year old Dia-Beat-It! client

"Thank you for all of your support and knowledge around diabetes. I've made some really significant changes in my behavior [regarding exercise, glucometer use and diet] that I feel very sure it will remain a way of life for me."

Janelle, 26 year old Dia-Beat-It! client