Linda Luth

Linda Luth continues to exercise at home.

Daily routines are changing in ways very few could have imagined a few months ago. Offices and schools are closed. There are no more happy hours at favorite bars and restaurants. Trips and meetings have been postponed or canceled. People are scrambling to figure out this year’s Passover plans and who will even be at the seder.

In all the complexity of adjusting to a new reality, many people are likely relieved that they no longer have to squeeze the gym into their busy day. It can seem a burden to those who have a gym membership only to demonstrate their good intentions. With most gyms shuttered, this is a guilt-free exercise holiday.

But what about the so-called gym rats, all those people for whom exercise is not a “should” but a “must.” There is a segment of the population who find themselves lost without a daily sweat.

Cancer survivor Linda Luth is one of those people. Saying she loves exercise is an understatement. She sees it as one of the important reasons she is now healthy after living through a stage 4 ovarian cancer diagnosis.

Two years after a difficult process of surgery, chemotherapy and recovery, there is no longer any disease detected. Luth knew that exercise certainly couldn’t hurt, but she found it to be something that helped keep her physically and mentally healthy through the long recovery.

“I exercise every day, and my gym buddies tell me that I motivate them to ask their doctors questions. They tell me I am an inspiration. I think we inspire each other,” she said.

Luth last went to the gym on March 16. She has an exercise bike she rides about 45 minutes every day without fail. She plans to add walks and investigate all the YouTube workout options.

“Everyone is being creative,” she said. The only class she won’t be able to do virtually is her Cardio Jam class, which is a hard one to let go of. The Greater Phoenix area has many hiking and biking trails that remain open, though that option is difficult for Luth due to balance issues post-cancer.

“I am not ready for that,” she said. “I used to ride 10 miles every day before my diagnosis, but because of my balance issues I am afraid to fall.”

Luth shares her journey of survival and recovery with medical students in a program called Survivors Teaching Students through the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance. She was set to participate in a program with 2nd Act to reach even more people before the event was canceled. However, she’s not one to let this get the best of her. She didn’t let cancer change who she was, she said, and she won’t let this circumstance either.

“You cannot keep an exercise fanatic down,” she said. “Where there is a will there is a way.” JN

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