Patricia goes from strength the strength with exercise classes

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Strength to strength: Patricia Ryan found out about the Strength for Life program after reading about it in The Senior.

Strength to strength: Patricia Ryan found out about the Strength for Life program after reading about it in The Senior.


'A few months later, the lymphoedema is gone,' says breast cancer survivor Patricia Ryan after signing up to COTA's Strength for Life program.


AFTER undergoing treatment for breast cancer, Patrician Ryan was looking for a way to increase her fitness.

It was thanks to a story in The Senior that the retired lawyer found out about COTA NSW's Strength for Life classes.

The affordable strength training classes are run in various locations throughout NSW. There are similar programs run in other states around Australia.

"My oncologist suggested strength training, and when I saw the information about the Strength for Life classes in The Senior, I thought it was ideal," said Patricia, from Sydney's Northern Beaches.

After treatment for breast cancer, Patricia had put on weight, had lymphoedema in her arm and also had some loss of muscle and bone density. So although she had always been active, she wanted to increase her exercise regime and in particular take on more strength training.

Patricia attends the Warriewood Strength for Life class run by instructor Ingrid van Baren-Davey.

She was impressed that each participant receives an individual program pitched at their level and taking into account their particular fitness level and physical issues. And new exercises are added in as you progress to increase the challenge.

"Ingrid is really good and very knowledgeable," Patricia said. "She explains why you are doing things and makes sure you are doing them correctly. She's very understanding too. And the overall atmosphere is fun and friendly."

Patricia is delighted with the outcome. "The really good news is that a few months later, the lymphoedema is gone," she said. "It's known to be really hard to shift, and the doctor said it was directly related to doing strength training."

Classes cost between $10-$15. You will also need to attend a one-off assessment costing $30-$85. In some cases you may be able to get a refund for the assessment.

Classes are now running in the following areas.Contact the provider directly for more information and to book your assessment.

If you would like to attend a class in NSW and your area is not listed here, you can register your interest on COTA NSW's website.

Strength for Life, or similar strength training programs, are also run by in other states.