The Relationship Between Exercise and Cancer Treatment — With Dr. Allison Betof-Warner

ByCrossFit October 30, 2022
Found in:221031,Health

Allison Betof-Warner, Ph.D., M.D., and practicing oncologist, talks with Mike Giardina at the 2022 CrossFit Games about updated cancer exercise guidelines and training active and beyond-cancer athletes. Dr. Betof-Warner explains how, traditionally, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) would put out guidelines for cancer survivors which would be extrapolated to those currently undergoing treatment. Within the last two years, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) released its own set of guidelines for both active and beyond-cancer patients. These guidelines include: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise — broken up however necessary — or 75 minutes of vigorous activity with the new addition of two to three days of resistance training; guidelines that fit well within the walls of the CrossFit affiliate.

Dr. Betof-Warner also discusses the relationship between exercise and cancer treatment. Cancer treatment can come with some severe physical side effects, such as decreased bone mass, decreased muscle mass, and a decrease in oxygen consumption and utilization (VO2). Exercising during treatment can counteract these side effects, explains Dr. Betof-Warner. And, exercise can assist in making cancer treatments more effective, she adds.

When training an active cancer patient or a survivor, it is important to ask some specific questions before the training starts. Dr. Betof-Warner lists the following questions as some of the most important to start with. First, make sure the athlete is comfortable sharing their condition with others in the class. If not, you may have to keep their diagnosis between you and the other coaches in the affiliate. Ask them where they are in their cancer treatment journey. Make sure you are aware of any of their functional limitations and ensure they have discussed these with their medical provider. Lastly, ask if you can contact their medical provider in order to create a functioning team, providing the athlete with optimal results. These teams are necessary to bridge the gap between fitness and healthcare.

For more information on Dr. Betof-Warner, find her on social media at IG:@jockmeetsnerd and Facebook: @Allison Scahill Betof Warner.

Comments on The Relationship Between Exercise and Cancer Treatment — With Dr. Allison Betof-Warner


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Don Hinton
November 1st, 2022 at 3:56 pm
Commented on: The Relationship Between Exercise and Cancer Treatment — With Dr. Allison Betof-Warner

I had received a cancer diagnosis two years ago and did not yet even know what path of treatment lay in my future. I only knew I needed to be as tough as possible, mentally and physically, to face whatever lay ahead. In addition, I researched everything I could about nutrition that would be to my benefit, including from my oncologist's team.

My own gym time was falling short of the real results I wanted, so I concluded I needed to seek out a trainer who might understand and help - and I found Sam, who was committed and engaged from the first moment to help me win the cancer fight and to make LIFE that much better.

Over the ensuing year(s) Sam tuned, tweaked, adjusted, modified, pushed, led, carried, studied, read, coached and prayed for me.... He drove himself to try and understand how my treatments would affect my abilities, to keep me from exhaustion while keeping me strong, to find the balance each week as I saw changes and hurdles. I was his "puzzle" but he never lost a piece! My great coach is as integral to my journey as one can be.

As an encapsulation: I just left my oncologist's office Friday, and they are overwhelmed by my condition, my on-going healing, and my body! I have actually gained muscle mass, even with it being through the middle of my treatments - unheard of!

Watching this made me tear up just to hear spoken out what I've lived and to see of it acknowledged and promoted is a joy. I'll wave the flag with you! I'm in! Headed into remission and to cancer victory!

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