Muscles in Motion aids cancer survivors

New initiative at Novant Health Thomasville
Aug. 13, 2013 @ 01:12 PM

Fighting cancer takes a serious toll on the body. From the chemotherapy to overall lack of energy, a battle with cancer can leave a person physically and mentally drained.

A new initiative at Novant Health Thomasville Medical Center is helping cancer survivors get back on their feet and their way to a healthy and active lifestyle.

Muscles in Motion is a wellness program designed specifically for cancer survivors  that promotes healing, flexibility, strength and endurance through a personalized exercise regimen.   

"When patients go through chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, a lot of times doctors will tell them to exercise, eat right, get out and walk, but they don't feel good," said elizabeth Parnell, Oncology Program director at NHTMC. "We want to help build their strength and endurance back because they've been laying around and unable to do it because of their treatment."

Patients receiving cancer treatment at NHTMC can join the 12-visit Muscles in Motions program for free with a required referral from their oncologist. Muscles in Motion staff will assess an individual's abilities and develop a program specifically for that person needs.   

"Our goal is very simple and that's to make them feel better," Tom Doyle, Muscles in Motion program manager, said. "We wan to help them recover from what they've been through. There are more and more cancer survivors out there and we want to increase their quality of life and the life expectancy. It all comes down to making healthier lifestyle choices."

Members of the program start off slow and gradually increase their workload over the course of several weeks. Muscles in Motion uses exercise equipment such as treadmills, bicycles, elliptical and rowing machines and NuSteps. The program also implements stretching and light weights.

"We may start off with as little as five minutes of exercise a day, it all depends on what a person has been doing," said Doyle. "It's all about having communication and knowing how they're feeling. We start off light and if they tolerate it we push them more."

Linda Cabrera from Archdale is the first person to complete the Muscles in Motion program. She decided to join four weeks ago after surviving a battle with breast cancer.

"I would do just a little bit at a time until I built my strength up," Cabrera said. "I'm doing really good now. I feel really good. There's a big difference. I have a lot more energy than I did four weeks ago."

For more information on Muscles in Motion, call 476-2539 or visit 



Staff Writer Eliot Duke can be reached at 888-3578, or