Trainer Exercises Positive Attitude Toward Wellness
There are stretches, steps and spri-bands. But Maralyn Lozano’s most important gift to the cancer patients in her workout class may be encouragement, and the assurance that exercise as well as a positive attitude can help heal.
With 15 years of experience as an aerobics teacher and personal trainer, about seven years ago Lozano started working with patients at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian’s cancer center in Newport Beach.
Lozano, working with one of the center’s directors, Dr. Robert Dillman, designed a program to increase endurance, circulation and even elevate endorphins, which alleviate depression.
“It is important for every student to leave my class with a relaxed body, as well as mind,” Lozano said. “I consider it a form of meditation for them to work out, while at the same time, a person may be undergoing treatment, such as radiation or chemotherapy.”
Lozano said she leads her classes--about 20 students in all--with one thing in mind: to celebrate life each day. Her students have breast, lung and other types of cancer. No matter the diagnosis, she treats them with the same understanding and support.
Since many of Lozano’s students have never exercised, she offers two levels of classes. Beginners start with a basic stretching routine and slowly progress to 10 minutes of cardiovascular work.
Advanced classes include 30- to 35-minute step routines and a mixture of low-impact aerobics. The students use spri-bands to tone and strengthen muscles. The bands, with different levels of resistance, work the muscles without need for weights or machines.
Dillman also participates in the classes and substitutes as the teacher on occasion.
Lozano said she’s seen many of her students improve over the years she’s been teaching at the center. None have died.
Despite new patients every year, Lozano said she never forgets her old students, “watching them progress and get better, it’s a miracle.”
Lozano also attributes a caring environment and positive attitude for a chance at recovery. “Family and friends’ support,” she said, “enables a person to work through the fear and, everyone at the center is their support system.”
And Lozano’s key ingredients for her students remain the same: “Encouragement, supportive environment and exercise to keep you moving.”
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