LIVESTRONG Class Assessment: Ready to Roll
Last week at our Livestrong class we had personal assessments and now we’re ready to roll. We broke into groups to assess endurance, balance, flexibility, and strength. This was a baseline assessment to track our progress through the three-month class.
Since we divided into small groups with one trainer for each group, it was great to see the support and comradeship among class members. We are all at different levels of treatment, recovery, and survivorship. There is breast cancer, lung cancer, melanoma, and brain cancer survivors. Some are using walkers or a cane for balance while others are former marathon runners who inspire me with their desire to push their physical limits at the YMCA program. Our trainers carefully watch each participant to keep us all safe within our own personal goals and boundaries.
Endurance was tested with a timed three-minute walk around cones. You could go as fast or slow as your body allowed. Balance was tested by standing on one leg for as long as you could up to one minute. We tested each leg with this method. Flexibility was assessed by two different types of reach exercises. We all learned we have one side that is favored and more flexible than the other. Additionally, for those who have had surgery or radiation it was apparent which side could use some further exercise to help with flexibility. Strength was evaluated by using two different weight machines; one for upper body and the leg press for lower body.
Our next class session we were ready to roll. We start each class doing thirty minutes of cardio on the machine of our choice. There are elliptical, recumbent bicycles, striders, and rowing machines. I was a former rower on crew in college so it felt good and very natural for me to be on the rowing machine. I like it because it is a full body workout. It was really fun to be on the equipment with the trainers smiling and cheering you on!
We were given instruction on the TRX bands. It was a big hit. Our class trainers are so great at fully explaining the benefits and proper form of all the equipment the YMCA offers. They are very cognizant of the various levels and abilities of the class participants. There is no competition among any of us. We compliment and cheer each other on when effort is put forth on any piece of equipment. If someone needs assistance with their walker and getting up on equipment, we are all there to lend a hand.
My favorite part of the TRX bands was doing what I call, “the perfect squat”. The TRX bands allow me to maintain the “toes over knees” position while lowering my body much further than what I normally do without the bands. You guessed it! It worked those buns much more. A really “booty call”! Our trainer also showed us an excellent work out on the TRX bands for balance and hip flexibility. It was such a popular piece of equipment she had to go into the storage room to get more for willing participants.
This week’s session was a lesson on more equipment working both upper and lower body. The movement is smooth, not jerky, maintaining perfect position while using your own body weight to build strength.
I look forward to reporting on the next class. I asked a fellow breast cancer survivor to snap a photo with me before going home showing the back of our t-shirt logo. It really does sum up why each of us is here. I think it is a good mantra for all of us in life! Thank you, Livestrong program!
I AM STRONG
I AM DETERMINED
I AM HOPEFUL
I AM A FIGHTER