Free Fitness Classes Now Available for Female Cancer Survivors and Those At-risk in Dearborn Heights

The new all-female classes allow cancer survivors to find their physical potential after their cancer diagnosis and to help females learn ways of exercising as a means of cancer prevention

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The Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute is partnering with Wayne State University (WSU) School of Medicine and HYPE Athletics Center in Dearborn Heights to offer female cancer survivors 12 weeks of physical activity classes. These free classes are offered as part of an exercise program called Cross-Training and Physical Activity: A Better Life Experience (CAPABLE), which introduces the sport of CrossFit to cancer survivors and community members who may be at risk of developing cancer. Classes will be instructed by women in the women’s only portion of the gym. The CAPABLE team is looking for female cancer survivors and at-risk members of the community to participate in the program, staring in September. This includes females who are over the age of 40, overweight, or have a family history of cancer. Previous exercise experience is not necessary to participate.

“We are excited to be expanding CAPABLE throughout Southeast Michigan. I believe in the impact that this exercise method has on wellness, both physically and mentally,” said Jennifer Beebe-Dimmer, Ph.D., MPH, leader of the Population Studies and Disparities Research (PSDR) Program, scientific director of the Epidemiology Research Core at Karmanos and professor of Oncology at WSU. “We have seen tremendous success with many cancer survivors participating in CAPABLE. The residents of Dearborn and Dearborn Heights now have the opportunity to learn how physical activity can benefit their health after a cancer diagnosis, and how to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives to assist in the prevention of cancers they may be at a high risk of developing.”

The American Cancer Society recommends cancer survivors avoid inactivity and resume their regular physical activities after a diagnosis as soon as their doctor deems it safe. They also recommend survivors participate in exercise for 150-300 minutes weekly, including strength training. CAPABLE was designed to help survivors learn how to meet these exercise and strength-training recommendations, and to teach fitness skills they can use well beyond the classes. In June 2023, Dr. Beebe-Dimmer and her research team published “The Impact of High Intensity Interval Training in a Diverse Group of Cancer Survivors: CAPABLE, A Pilot Study,” in Preventative Medicine. This study featured 48 cancer survivors who participated in CAPABLE.

“CAPABLE looks to improve outcomes for cancer survivors after treatment. CrossFit combines high-intensity interval and strength training. We look at a host of outcomes – everything from physical fitness and body composition, sleep health, and quality of life,” Dr. Beebe-Dimmer explained.

The strength and conditioning workouts are made of simple movements performed at scalable levels for each participant. Classes take place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at noon staring in September, and will run for 12 weeks.

The exercise classes will be held in the female-only section of HYPE Athletics Center, located at 23302 W. Warren Ave. in Dearborn Heights. For questions, contact the CAPABLE team at 313-578-4246 or email Visit for more information.