Dealing with the Stress of a Cancer Diagnosis in a COVID-19 World with Exercise

Kirstie L. Pomaranski, CPT, CES, CETI- CES, PN1 is a certified fitness and exercise trainer. For more than a decade she has trained clients individually and in small group settings from the ages of 3 to 93. Kirstie oversees the exercise programming for cancer patients and survivors at Life with Cancer.

Navigating a cancer diagnosis is stressful. Moderate exercise can be a tremendous tool in the management of stress and side effects from treatment. With that said, the entire world is still navigating the long-term challenges we face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We know that with immune-compromised populations, it is best to take a conservative approach as our region starts to loosen mask requirements and relax capacity guidelines. 

Am I safe heading back to the gym? 

If you an immune-suppressed person, it is best to avoid crowded gyms and stick to areas that you know are properly cleaned, are well maintained and don’t have the crowds that many gyms in the region do.

Here are some things to look for in a gym:

  • Adequate cleaning
  • Cleaning materials clearly marked and readily available
  • Participants and staff using the cleaning materials and adhering to social distancing protocol
  • Equipment that is is clean and in good working order
  • Staff who are responsive and receptive to your concerns

Ask the manager to see what the gym’s cleaning protocols are before attending classes or resuming your membership. 

The Joan and Russell Hitt Center for Healthy Living

Inova Joan and Russell Hitt Center for Healthy Living is a safe, cost-effective option.


Did you know that Inova has a 26,000-square-foot facility located on the campus next to Inova Schar Cancer Institute in Fairfax, Virginia? Their team actively works with Inova’s infection prevention experts to maintain the standards that have been set by the Centers for Disease Control, the Virginia Health Department and Inova’s leadership. To learn more, visit

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