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LIVESTRONG at the YMCA was developed to address the top concern of cancer survivors: the difficulty of returning to physical activity after treatment. LIVESTRONG Foundation partnered with the YMCA of the USA in 2007 to create a 12-week physical activity program designed to get survivors back on their feet. The small-group program assists those who are living with, through, or beyond cancer to strengthen their spirit, mind and body.

Research from the Yale Cancer Center and Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Institute confirmed that LIVESTRONG at the YMCA participants experience improved fitness and quality of life, as well as significant decreases in cancer-related fatigue. The program has served more than 60,692 cancer survivors in more than 707 communities across the nation. It is open to adults 18 years and older at no cost. The program is conducted outside of medical facilities to emphasize that LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is about health, not disease.



During the 12-week program, participants will build muscle mass and strength, increase flexibility and endurance, and improve functional ability. Participants will experience a reduction in severity of therapy side effects, prevent unwanted weight changes and improve energy levels and self-esteem. Each participant will develop their own physical fitness program so they can continue to practice a healthy lifestyle, not only as part of their recovery, but as a way of life. In addition to the physical benefits, the program provides participants a supportive environment and a feeling of community with their fellow survivors, YMCA staff and members.


  •     Two 90-minute sessions per week
  •     Includes cardiovascular conditioning, strength training, balance and flexibility exercises
  •     Evaluation includes fitness and quality of life assessments before and after participation
  •     Facilitated by YMCA-certified instructors
  •     Requires referral and medical clearance from a physician


Instructors give personal, individualized instruction to program participants with an emphasis in the elements associated with cancer:

  •     Supportive cancer care: empower cancer survivors to improve their quality of life through exercise and building positive relationships by effectively engaging cancer survivors
  •     Post-rehabilitation exercise: importance of exercise in cancer survivorship and how to modify and progress exercises based off each individual’s specific needs thus creating a safe and appropriate exercise program for each program participant
  •     Knowledge of cancer types, surgeries, treatments and side effects