We all know that exercise is good for you and has a range of health benefits, but did you know there is substantial evidence supporting the fantastic benefits of exercise for cancer patients?
1. Exercise can counteract side effects
It is now widely accepted that exercise offers the greatest potential to counteract many of the negative physical and psychological effects of cancer and its treatments.
2. Exercise is the best thing for improving physical function and overall quality of life
On present knowledge, exercise is the greatest intervention for improving physical function (including aerobic fitness, muscular strength and functional ability) decreasing cancer-related fatigue, psychological distress and improving overall quality of life.
3. Exercise is the best way to enhance recovery post treatment
Current evidence indicates that regular exercise before, during and after cancer treatment helps people recover quicker.
4. Exercise can lead to reduced risk of other conditions
Evidence indicates that exercise is also associated with reduced risk of developing new cancers and other chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
5. Exercise should be prescribed as a treatment for all cancer patients
The findings above have prompted the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia to release a position statement on "Exercise in Cancer Care".
The new position statement suggests exercise should be encouraged by GPs, specialists and nurses. It should be prescribed by exercise professionals to best meet your condition.
It is the first position statement worldwide to call for exercise to be a component of cancer treatment and has been endorsed by Cancer Council Australia, the Medical Oncology Group of Australia, Exercise and Sports Science Australia and Australian Physiotherapy Association, and supported by over 20 cancer and exercise organisations.
So how does Cancer Council WA help patients incorporate exercise into their life?
The evidence-based benefits of exercise are why we offer free supervised exercise, yoga and tai chi programs for cancer patients and their carers through Life Now.
As well as these exercise-based programs, Life Now also offers classes in mindfulness, meditation and mindful art. Meditation can also help to improve quality of life for people with cancer - research suggests it is useful for treating chronic pain and insomnia and can help in reducing anxiety, stress and blood pressure.
All Life Now programs are run by qualified instructors and operate in both metropolitan and regional WA. We invite people living with cancer and their primary carer to take part in these free programs, which are funded through generous community donations.
The Life Now Programs are designed to enable people affected by cancer to experience the benefits of keeping mentally and physically active - which, as you can see above, are far-reaching.
Life Now Term 2 programs commence in August so if you, or someone you know has recently been diagnosed with cancer, find out more about what programs are on offer.