NORTH CANTON  The North Canton YMCA is taking registration for a program it has been offering that helps cancer survivors begin the journey toward recovery. The YMCA started partnering with the LIVESTRONG Foundation in 2008 to offer the LIVESTRONG at the YMCA program.

The YMCA's Director of Personal Training and Specialized Exercise Rudi Hiney said the program has helped many cancer survivors by providing a supportive, safe environment to participate in physical and social activities focused on strengthening the whole person.

"This is a free program to members and non-members from anywhere in the area," Hiney said. "Participants do need a medical permission form from their physician to be able to participate. People who sign up can be in treatment or finished with treatment of any age or any type of cancer," she added.

The program is 12 weeks and participants meet two times a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The program has several goals including:

- Building endurance and flexibility

- Improving energy

- Building muscle and mass

- Enhancing functional ability for everyday living

- Providing nutritional guidance specific to cancer and general wellness

- Reducing the severity of any side effects or limitations from surgery or therapy

Hiney said that participants come in at all different stages of their journey. The staff at the YMCA will work with each individual to determine an exercise program that fits and includes working with cardio equipment and equipment that builds strength.

The group stays together through a workout, but each person has a customized program to work at their own level and on the areas they need. Hiney said that chair yoga is also part of the workout which helps with breathing.

Registrants also get introduced to the other beneficial programs at the YMCA on the off days. Participants can go to the pool for swimming or participate in other group exercise programs.

"This program has helped hundreds of cancer survivors from all over the county. It’s really more about building relationships and finding their level of comfort. It’s important that they stay active for both the physical and psychological stress. The wellness piece of the program is all encompassing," Hiney said.

The North Canton YMCA offers a separate program called Nutrition: The Key to Fighting Cancer. The free presentation is schedule for 4 p.m. Feb. 21 and 1 p.m. May 9 at the YMCA at 200 S. Main St. in North Canton.

For more information or to register for either program, call Hiney at 330-499-2587, ext. 143, or email her at