Fit For Survival

Fit For Survival
(970) 569-7493 |  (866) 569-7429
Fit for Survival or the Spirit of Survival comprehensive wellness program
Exercise Physiologists: Sarah Giovagnoli or Erin Lepper at fitforsurvival@vailhealth.org 
 
 
The American Heart Association recommends one hundred fifty minutes per week, or 30 minutes five times per week, of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity exercise to decrease the recurrence of cancer, and to improve overall cancer survival. 

Shaw’s exercise physiologists conduct fitness assessments and develop customized exercise programs that meet each individual’s needs and goals to get “Fit for Survival.” Participants in the program are instructed in aerobic conditioning, strength training, balance and flexibility to increase fitness and overall well-being. The Fit for Survival gym sees an average of 200 patient visits per month for both individualized exercise and group classes and offers punch passes to gyms and yoga studios in Eagle County and the surrounding regions. 

To consult with an oncology-certified exercise physiologist, please contact either Sarah Giovagnoli or Erin Lepper by calling (970) 569-7493 or emailing fitforsurvival@vailhealth.org.

The Fit for Survival program is made possible by the generosity of participants and donors of Pink Vail

Fitness Class Schedule

Frequency: Weekly, Thursdays | 10:00 - 11:00 am

ALL classes offered at Jack’s Place are FREE for all patients and caregivers.

Pilates, Yoga, and Stretch & Relax classes at Jack’s Place are open to the public. Punch cards can be purchased at Jack's Place. $11/drop-in or purchase a punch card: Five punches for $50, 15 punches for $130.   
 
Gentle Yoga is a class structured around rejuvenating and healing the body. This class is held at a slower pace and focuses on stretching all areas of the body, while releasing stress and tension from joints and muscles. Yoga props such as blocks, bolsters, chairs and straps can be used for safe practice, and to allow the body to fully achieve each position comfortably. Modifications are taught, and the class includes a combination of seated and standing exercises.
 
 
 
Frequency: Weekly, Tuesdays | 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Location: Jack's Place Yoga Studio | 332 Beard Creek Road | Edwards, CO
Contact:  Sarah Giovagnoli or Erin Lepper at fitforsurvival@vailhealth.org

Benefits of yoga for men may include: improved functioning pertaining to areas such as urinary symptoms, sexual function, fatigue, and in some cases, incontinence. 
 
Frequency: Weekly, Tuesdays and Fridays |10:00 - 11:00 am
 
ALL classes offered at Jack’s Place are FREE for all patients and caregivers.

Pilates, Yoga, and Stretch & Relax classes at Jack’s Place are open to the public. Punch cards can be purchased at Jack's Place. $11/drop-in or purchase a punch card: Five punches for $50, 15 punches for $130.   
 
The Stretch and Relax class focuses on slow stretches and the opening of tight muscles to restore and rejuvenate. The focus of this gentle class is working inward to unite mind and body, while also increasing flexibility, balance, and an overall sense of deep relaxation. The Stretch and Relax class emphasizes integrating the mind, body, and spirit, and is open to all levels. With a focus on breath and quieting the mind, this slower-paced class ranges from gentle stretches to balancing exercises, and also includes opportunities for meditation. Come learn to relax and unwind in a supportive environment.
 
Frequency: 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month | 5:30-7:00 pm
 
ALL classes offered at Jack’s Place are FREE for all patients and caregivers.

Pilates, Yoga, and Stretch & Relax classes at Jack’s Place are open to the public. Punch cards can be purchased at Jack's Place. $11/drop-in or purchase a punch card: Five punches for $50, 15 punches for $130.  
 
Restorative yoga is a wonderful way to calm, rejuvenate and release tension in the body and mind.  With the aid of bolsters, eye pillows, music and blankets, a soothing environment  for deep relaxation is created.  As the body lingers in soothing and restful poses, tension is relieved while the mind and body begin to relax.  In each session participants are guided slowly and gently into the most supportive and comfortable positions for relaxation.  The poses will be held for several minutes or as long as the experience is comfortable.  
 
Frequency: Weekly, Mondays |12:00-1:00 pm
 
ALL classes offered at Jack’s Place are FREE for all patients and caregivers.

Pilates, Yoga, and Stretch & Relax classes at Jack’s Place are open to the public. Punch cards can be purchased at Jack's Place. $11/drop-in or purchase a punch card: Five punches for $50, 15 punches for $130.   
 
Our gentle Pilates mat classes focus on developing core strength, improved posture, and balance. Students learn to be aware of breathing patterns and spinal alignment while engaging the deep muscles of the core throughout a range of exercises. Various props (e.g. flex bands, foam rollers, rings, light weights, and balls) are often used to enhance the workout. No previous Pilates experience is necessary.
 
Frequency: Weekly, Mondays | 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Location: Jack's Place Yoga Studio | 332 Beard Creek Road | Edwards, CO
Contact:  Sarah Giovagnoli or Erin Lepper at fitforsurvival@vailhealth.org

Learn how to safely strength train in a positive, encouraging environment. All are welcome from any fitness level and all adult ages. We will build on the exercises each week and every week there will be a new and different workout. Learn proper form and repetition pattern, gain fitness as you learn technique. Class meets weekly.
Frequency: Weekly, Monday and Wednesdays | 6:00 – 6:30 am
 
ALL classes offered at Jack’s Place are FREE for all patients and caregivers. 
 
This morning meditation class focuses on breathing and visualization techniques. This 30 minute seminar teaches us how to use our breath to calm, center, and relax our body and mind, leaving us refreshed and ready to start the day.
Location: Jack's Place Yoga Studio | 332 Beard Creek Road | Edwards, CO
 
Frequency: Weekly, Mondays and Wednesdays | 6:30-7:30 am
 
ALL classes offered at Jack’s Place are FREE for all patients and caregivers.

Pilates, Yoga, and Stretch & Relax classes at Jack’s Place are open to the public. Punch cards can be purchased at Jack's Place. $11/drop-in or purchase a punch card: Five punches for $50, 15 punches for $130.   
 
Using the principles of taijiquan, this gentle class emphasizes movement designed to assist each individual in making a mind-body connection. This class also focuses on increasing the participant’s strength, balance and flexibility. Throughout this hour class, movement is used to address physical, mental and emotional well-being.
 
Five Minute Core Corner: Bridge Pose
Muscles groups used: abdominals, low back, hamstrings and glutes 
 
Lie flat on your back with knees bent, hands at your side and feet flat.
As you inhale, tighten lower abdominals by pulling belly button to spine, and flattening lower back against mat.
During your exhalation, press heels firmly into the ground, and slowly lift pelvis off the mat, lifting one vertebrae at a time. Lift only as high as you can without feeling any strain in your back.
Pause for several seconds, inhaling and squeezing glutes.
During your next exhalation, slowly lower back to the mat, one vertebrae at a time.
Relax abdominals and then repeat exercise, 6-8 times.
 
Advanced progression options:
 
Marching (not pictured):  At the top of your bridge, lift one foot at a time six inches off the ground while keeping pelvis stable. Repeat 6-8 times, alternating feet, then roll back down to starting position.
Leg hold: At the top of your bridge, straighten one leg, holding for 5-10 seconds. Return leg to starting position, and extend opposite leg. Roll back down to starting position.
Leg lowering: From the top of your bridge, extend one leg straight to ceiling, and then lower and lift 6-8 times while keeping pelvis stable. Return to starting position. Roll up into a bridge again, and then complete 6-8 leg lifts on opposite side.
 
 
Five Minute Core Corner: Bird Dog
Muscle groups used: lower back, shoulders, abdominals, glutes
 
Start in quadruped position on hands and knees, neck and spine in neutral position.
Tighten abdominals by pulling belly button in to spine.
Extend one leg directly back, tightening glutes (do not arch your back, and keep hips level, with no rotation).
While maintaining abdominal contraction, raise opposite arm.
Hold position for 5-10 seconds, repeat on other side.
Complete six times on each side.
 

Spirit of Survival Fitness FAQs

Your physical therapy program is a component of your customized Spirit of Survival program. You may need physical therapy to regain functional strength in specific areas.
 
Fit for Survival is not an exercise class. It is a specific fitness program designed to help patients regain wellness and promote a better quality of life. Exercise classes are offered to patients as part of the program.
 
Currently, we offer yoga and tai chi to patients under treatment and cancer survivors. Please visit our fitness page for a complete listing of classes.
 
You will work with our certified exercise physiologists, and in some cases, our physical therapist and certified lymphedema therapist.
 
Patients can begin Fit for Survival even right after diagnosis. Studies show that the sooner patients start exercising or being physically active, the better their chance at reducing the negative side effects of cancer and its treatment. Fatigue is a very common issue with patients who undergo radiation or chemotherapy or who have previously gone through either treatment. Not all patients experience fatigue, and those who do report different levels, ranging from debilitating to mild. When your body is better conditioned and more efficient at performing daily activities, it will be better suited to battle any level of fatigue.
It is never too late to start an exercise program. The sooner you start, the sooner you and your body will reap the benefits of regular exercise. Even if you have never exercised before, our exercise physiologists will build a program around you and your specific needs. We will start slowly and gradually build up the muscular and cardiovascular strength to your personal tolerance. Ultimately, the program will help increase energy, make you think more clearly, rid your body of stress, increase endorphins, and help you feel good about your body.
 
Losing body fat helps cancer patients in many ways, both directly and indirectly. Decreasing body fat is a direct result of increased activity. A study by the American Cancer Society showed that women who were more active (participated in six hours/week of vigorous activity, such as jogging, swimming or running) decreased their risk of breast cancer by 30 percent. Another study showed that men and women who jogged the equivalent of five hours/week lowered their risk of colorectal cancer by 40 to 50 percent.
 
Losing weight also decreases the risk of developing complications from surgery. The time needed for recovery from surgery also decreases, allowing you to get back to your daily routine sooner. Shorter recovery times lead to less protective posturing by the body to compensate for the weakened areas.
 
Shaw Cancer Center is a service of Vail Health Hospital.