Euro. Gym ‘After Cancer in Vernon: they fight disease with sport

Three times a week, the BESS 27 association offers a gym session adapted to people with cancer. ©The Vernon Democrat

“It is good for morale and body! »

The observation is the same for everyone: the courses of Gym’After Cancerprovided by the BESS 27 association in Vernon (Eure), enables people recovering from, or still being treated for, cancer to keep physically and mentally healthy.

The small group meets every Tuesday, from 3 pm to 4 pm, in the boxing room of the Grévarin gymnasium, for a musical session on disco or pop tunes.

An expert teacher

Specially trained to give sports sessions to people with pathologies, Séverine Gicquel is one of the facilitators specializing in adapted physical activity. He has been teaching classes at the association for almost ten years, and is still as successful as ever. His role? Observe your students to gauge their progress and their struggles to help them better. And the formula seems appealing. “I give my lessons to more than 140 practitioners,” says Séverine Gicquel.

Tailored sessions

When they arrive, the participants sit in a circle, “on chairs or standing, it depends on the state of the girls,” said the teacher. Then a warm-up begins “to take the temperature” and gently prepare your muscles. Wrists, shoulders, ankles and knees: all joints pass through it.

gym after cancer Vernon BESS 27
The session always starts with a warm-up, sitting or standing. ©The Vernon Democrat

With the body wide awake, the group spread out through the workshops set up by Séverine Gicquel. Tuesday, October 18, they have a choice between a walking course to work on balance, a ball throwing workshop, and two massage exercises with gymnastic balls.

“You have to remember all the instructions,” quips one participant before heading into a workshop. In fact, treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, have an effect on the physical appearance, but also on the memory of patients.

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The objectives of the session are therefore related to several technical points: the Muscle buildingthe integration of balance, the increase of motor skills, the dynamization of memories and increased cardio-respiratory capacity.

The most important thing is that Séverine Gicquel adapts her exercises to each of the participants. “It’s not like classic gymnastics classes, here we work without pain”, acknowledges Marie-Christine. That day, the ball throwing exercise changed and Séverine Gicquel invited some to hit the ball between their hands or legs.

gym after cancer Vernon BESS 27
The participants tried several workshops: here the ball is thrown. ©The Vernon Democrat

At the same time, a real mutual help was born during the course. “Doing the same exercises alone at home is not easy,” says Sophie. After a short break to catch his breath, Patricia joined him to complete the march: “We paraded when necessary. »

These gymnastic sessions also allow you to maintain physical activity. “I am a good hiker and I had to stop my walking sessions because of the pain”, testifies Danielle.

“This is a catwalk gymnastics class. »

Séverine Gicquel, adapted gymnastics teacher.

Because of this, this gymnastics makes it possible to maintain the “minimum number of muscles that must be preserved” before continuing a more intense sports training.

gym after cancer Vernon BESS 27
The walking course allows you to work on your balance. ©The Vernon Democrat

Danielle joined the course three months ago, after her first chemotherapy sessions. “I was looking for a way to continue practicing an activity, I found the course by searching the Internet”, explained the retiree. Like his classmates, he appreciates the “interaction with others” and the “feeling of relaxation”. He who knew nothing about the disease was able to reassure himself: “We can confide in others and we share our experiences when we need it. »

Loyal to the course for many years

The formula is so attractive that some have been around for years. “Within an hour, we clear our heads and we don’t think about the pain anymore”, assures Ghislaine, loyal to the Gym’Après Cancer course since 2014.

Thanks to the personalized follow-up carried out by Séverine Gicquel, participants can move on to other courses, Yoga or Pilates, after recovering better physical abilities.

“I came to Séverine’s class three years ago. Now, I also attend a Pilates class every Wednesday. »

Maud, participant in the Gym’ Après Cancer class

Like Maud, some of them are still going through the Gym’Après Cancer course. This is Patricia’s case: “I discovered the association eight years ago. After a year and a half of adapted gymnastics, I climbed the stairs. “Very invested in BESS 27, the retiree can now provide an occasional replacement for Pilates classes.

The best medicine to overcome pain

Doctors have confirmed this: physical and sports practice is the best remedy to overcome the disease.

“The Henri Becquerel center (cancer center located in Rouen, editor’s note) advised me to take part in the sessions offered by the BESS 27 association”, confirms Martine, who has been following the course for four years. . The BESS 27 association also received the “sports health” label issued by the Regional Health Agency (ARS).

If all the participants were talking about relaxation, it was also because Séverine Gicquel closed the session with a meditation exercise. “It was just fun”, confirmed the athletes at the end of their session.

Gym’Après Cancer with the BESS 27 association: three sessions per week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday), including one outdoors. Price: license 35 euros per year + 15 euros per month for lessons. More information and information at 06 86 28 06 35 or at [email protected]

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