As we mentioned earlier this month, in honor of October being National Breast Cancer Awareness month, we’ve been thinking pink here at Oxford. A few weeks ago we explored a variety of resources that exist for women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Today we’re taking a look at the role fitness plays in recovering from cancer.

Fitness is often pointed to as a key component of cancer treatment and prevention. The better trained and fueled your body is, the better equipped it is to fight any illness, especially one as devastating as cancer. However, after facing breast cancer—or any other type of cancer—it can be difficult to figure out where to even begin to regain control of your body, much less get back into any sort of fitness regimen.

This week, we sat down with one of Oxford’s own to learn about his work with people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Brian Kridler, Oxford’s Personal Training and Fitness Floor manager, has been a trainer at Oxford for five years. Brian has been the Fitness Floor Manager for three years now and has been working specifically with individuals recovering from cancer and treatment for the majority of that time. We talked to Brian to find out a little bit more about how he got started working in personal training, as well as how he started working with cancer patients specifically, and his advice to anyone currently recovering from cancer.

Q: Can you tell me a little bit about your background?

Brian: I enlisted in the U.S Air Force in 2005.  After my honorable discharge from the military in 2009, I pursued my college education, attaining my B.S. in Exercise Science from Slippery Rock University.  After college, I gained employment at the Oxford Athletic Club in 2012.  I have been the Personal Training/Fitness Floor Manager for 3 years this November.  I specialize in sport-specific training.  From my various clients having sports injuries, I started learning more and more about rehabilitation.

Q: How did you get started working in personal training? Where did your passion for fitness come from?

B: While training to join the military, I really enjoyed the adaptations exercise caused my body to have.  This continued while I was in the military, which led me to find a major in college that combined my favorite subject (science) with exercise.

Q: How did you get started working specifically with breast cancer survivors?

Around the time the Wexford Health and Wellness Pavilion opened in 2014, which has an enormous diagnostic testing component, I thought it would be a good idea to become a Cancer Recovery Specialist. I was also inspired by Oxford Athletic Club’s breast cancer events each year during the month of October.

Q: What types of concerns/problems do survivors typically have at the start of training with you?

Most clients are concerned about which exercises should they be doing and which ones should they avoid. Many of them also deal with fatigue, decreases in strength, and limits to their range of motion.

Q: What sort of regimen do you tend to recommend for survivors?

B: I generally have them do exercises that focuses on functional fitness, such as stretching, strength training, and mobility.   As soon as they can perform activities of daily living, their moods become more positive.  Returning to pre-cancer fitness level is the next challenge.

It’s not within my scope of practices to create a meal plan, but I do recommend a registered dietician to any of my clients who do have dietary needs.

Q: What would you say to someone trying to figure out what to do after going through treatment?

B: Listen to your doctor.  There has been a lot of research to suggest that exercise may decrease the risk of some cancers and alleviate some side effects to cancer treatment.  Because of this, doctors are more willing to prescribe exercise to their patients.  It’s also important to make sure you either use the fitness professional the doctor recommends or that the fitness professional of your choosing has the correct educational background.

Q: What’s been the most rewarding part of your work with survivors?

The most rewarding part has been helping to stimulate hope.  It makes me happy if I can help someone feel better about his or her treatment plan.

If you’re interested in learning more about this specialized training Brian offers, be sure to contact him at bkridler@oxfordathleticclub.com to find out how Brian’s training could be helpful while recovering from cancer treatment.