If you’re looking to improve your health, one of the best things to do is join a gym — and not just join a gym, but actually go! Whether you’re fighting cancer right now, you’re in remission or helping to care for someone with cancer, exercise has a lot of benefits. In fact, a study from the National Cancer Institute found that that being physically active in your personal leisure time can extend your life expectancy by as much as 4.5 years.
Fortunately, there are plenty of places for indoor exercises in the Shenandoah Valley, and most of them are quite affordable. Plus, many gyms offer free trial periods, so you can see if you like it before joining. Here are some facilities offering indoor exercises.
Even if you’re a caregiver working a full-time job and supporting someone with cancer, you should make the time to exercise — and doing it together can help you both. A study in the journal Supportive Care in Cancer showed that when caregivers and cancer survivors did a joint exercise and nutrition program, they both felt better physically and emotionally, as well as more supported by each other.
An option like the Powerhouse Gym in Waynesboro is a good match for people who variety of class options Powerhouse Gym offers plenty of group classes from yoga to zumba, and those wanting a different kind of experience might opt for the high-intensity interval training. You’ll challenge your body using kettle bells, suspension trainers, ropes, agility ladders and plyometric boxes here.
Planet Fitness (which has locations in Harrisonburg and Winchester) declares itself a “judgment free zone,” making it more comfortable for people just starting out. Here, you’ll find the usual cardio equipment, but also specialized rooms where you can do a 12-minute abdominal workout or a 30-minute complete workout. Better yet, both Planet Fitness locations are open 24 hours a day, so you can pop in whenever is most convenient. This is great for people short on time during the workday, or those wanting some exercise before heading home.
For families with kids
Sickness in the family can be stressful for kids, too. When you go to work out, bring the kids along to a gym that provides an active care program where they can get some exercise, blow off some steam in a healthy way, and have fun.
Parents who want to continue playing the sports of their youth can do so in the Body Renew Fitness & Family Sports Center‘s two indoor arenas. The adult sports leagues include ladies’ soccer, men’s soccer, hockey and adult flag football. The indoor climbing wall is popular, too, with adults and kids. Let the kids do the climbing wall while you exercise, or send them to the childcare facility. Body Renew has kids’ sports leagues, too, making it a great place for the whole family.
Sherando Family Fitness Club in Stephens City has a wide range of group classes. Try the boxing class for cardio and agility, or the dance fitness classes for a fun workout routine to music. Sherando is great for parents who like classes but can’t get there at the right time. The Fitness On Demand classes play on the group fitness room’s screen. Drop the kids off at the childcare room while you work out.
Staunton Health and Fitness is great for folks 65 and older because of two programs they tailor for that age group: Silver & Fit and Silver Sneakers. These are low-impact cardio classes that are also social. Senior women like the exclusive workout area for women, as it can be less intimidating to work out in a single-sex environment.
For folks with limited mobility
Body Renew’s Delco Plaza has an indoor handicap-accessible saltwater swimming pool, with lap swimming and aqua classes. Plus there’s a Silver Sneakers class, which can be great for folks with limited mobility, too. If you’re a cancer survivor, talk to a gym trainer about resistance exercises, which can improve mobility in older cancer survivors, according to a study by BMC Geriatrics.
Sherando Family Fitness offers classes in tai chi, a martial art sometimes described as “meditation in motion” that may help improve balance and mobility.
No matter where you go for indoor exercises, consider talking to your physician before starting a new routine. And if you don’t know how to use the machines, the gym staff is always happy to show you the ropes, so to speak. Remember: a cancer diagnosis is a fantastic reason to start exercising, just be sure to loop in your support team as you go.