Woman doing sit-ups

Workout for Wellness

Our UCSF Neuro-Oncology Workout for Wellness (WoW) Program provides brain tumor patients, survivors and their caregivers with complementary exercise classes, online strength training programs, and instructional videos to help support their individual wellness goals through physical activity.

We offer several classes throughout the year including a yoga class series which incorporates stretching, toning, meditation and breathwork, and a HeadStrong exercise class series which focuses on overall strength, balance, and cognitive enhancement. Classes are currently held via Zoom. To view upcoming class offerings, please visit our Brain Tumor Center Events Calendar.

In addition to our live virtual classes, the WoW program also offers access to a comprehensive video library of exercises to supplement the weekly classes. To view instruction for our HeadStrong Class series, please click on the class video playlist below:

Patients being treated at UCSF will be eligible for access to the Milberry Fitness Center at Parnassus during their course of treatment as well as offered complimentary home equipment such as bands or weights.

UCSF neuro-oncology patients and their caregivers who are interested in enrolling in our WoW Program activities, please contact Naomi Hoffer (naomi.hoffer@ucsf.edu).

For Patients & Survivors

Exercise has been found to provide positive benefits for cancer survivors. Research over the past decade has shown that it supports improved treatment outcomes, decreases fatigue, aids cognitive health, increases cardiovascular wellness, assists balance and coordination, and even helps relieve anxiety and depression.

Increasingly, data suggest that exercise may be beneficial for patients with brain cancer.1 In fact, new guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Cancer Society2-4 recommend that exercise should be part of adjunct care for every cancer patient. In addition to the strong evidence supporting the benefit of exercise in improving anxiety, depression, cancer-related fatigue,5 quality of life, and physical function in cancer patients,there are further data that speak to reducing recurrence rates and prolonging life for some cancers.

For Caregivers

Caregivers can often experience anxiety, stress, overwhelm, and sleep disruption. Exercise has been found to help alleviate these symptoms.  

In most cases, caregivers are welcome to attend virtual classes with a registered patient. Not only will this benefit the caregiver in the many ways mentioned above, but it also can be a mutually supportive bonding activity and can help ensure the safety of the patient. Our exercise instructor can suggest modifications of the same exercise that would provide maximum benefit to both the patient and the caregiver. 

To learn more about the benefits and recommendations of exercise and cancer, please check out the Moving Through Cancer booklet or the Moving through Cancer Film.

There are also limited complementary passes to the UCSF Milberry Fitness Center for caregivers of UCSF brain tumor patients going through treatment at Parnassus. Please send an email to naomi.hoffer@ucsf.edu to inquire about a pass.




1. Levin et al. (2016) Exercise Improves Physical Function and Mental Health of Brain Cancer Survivors. Integr Cancer Ther 15(2): 190–196.

2. Campbell et al. (2019) Exercise Guidelines for Cancer Survivors: Consensus Statement from International Multidisciplinary Roundtable. Med Sci Sports Exerc 51(11):2375-2390.

3. Patel et al. (2019) American College of Sports Medicine roundtable report on physical activity, sendentary behavior, and cancer prevention and control. Med Sci Sports Exerc 51(11):2391-240.

4. Schmitz et al. (2019) Exercise is Medicine in Oncology: Engaging Clinicians to Help Patients Move Through Cancer. CA Cancer J Clin 69(6):468-484.

5. Spencer, J., & Staffileno, B. A. (2021). Exercise Intervention: A Pilot Study to Assess the Feasibility and Impact on Cancer-Related Fatigue and Quality of Life Among Patients With High-Grade Glioma. Clin J of Oncol Nurs, 25(2):194-200.