Addressing Physical Activity Needs of Survivors by Developing a Community-Based Exercise Program: LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA

Ann-Hilary Heston

Anna L. Schwartz

Haley Justice-Gardiner

Katherine H. Hohman

exercise, physical activity, LIVESTRONG Foundation, YMCA, community health services, cancer survivorship
CJON 2015, 19(2), 213-217. DOI: 10.1188/15.CJON.213-217

Background: Although methods of cancer detection and treatment have improved, the side effects of treatment can cause profound debilitation that may linger years after treatment ends. Exercise during and after cancer treatment is safe, and it minimizes many of the deleterious physical and emotional side effects. With this evidence in mind, the LIVESTRONG Foundation and the YMCA of the USA collaborated to develop a community-based physical activity program for survivors, LIVESTRONG® at the YMCA.

Objectives: This article provides in-depth information about the development of the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program and its subsequent spread to meet the physical activity needs of survivors across the country.

Methods: Participating YMCAs engage in regular data collection efforts to track progress on organizational change and program delivery. These efforts include a staff evaluation survey, functional assessment of participants, patient-reported health status assessment, and patient program evaluation.

Findings: From the time of its development, the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program has served more than 29,000 survivors and trained more than 2,200 LIVESTRONG at the YMCA instructors. A national survey of more than 1,600 program participants demonstrates positive outcomes on health and well-being, as well as intent to continue exercising after the program’s end.

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