Active Recovery: cancer rehab

The University of Brighton has started its first cancer-specific exercise programme. ACTIVE RECOVERY is, to the best of our knowledge, the first cancer rehabilitation exercise programme set-up in the Eastbourne area. Experts from the University of Brighton (Dr Louisa Beale, Senior Lecturer) and Freedom Leisure (Stephanie Wadlow) have collaboratively developed in consultation with staff at Cancer United’s CU Fitter initiative, this programme to help individuals with or recovering from cancer.

Physical activity plays a vital role in the prevention, management and recovery of cancer. Strong evidence shows that exercise training is safe during and after cancer treatment in several cancer survivor groups. The United States, Canada, Australia and Europe are in consensus that cancer survivors should follow the guidelines for health-enhancing physical activity set out by the UK Department of Health (2011) which includes, 150-minutes of moderate intensity activity OR 75-minutes of vigorous intensity activity with an additional 2 days of strength training.

“Physical activity is a ‘wonder drug’ in the treatment and recovery of those living with cancer” (Macmillan, 2011)

Run weekly by Stephanie Wadlow and one of the Universities MSc students (Harrison Collier-Bain), this class aims to help people with cancer lead more active, happier and healthier lives during every stage of cancer treatment by improving fitness, functional ability, bone health, blood pressure, insulin resistance, general well-being, quality of life and more!

With funding from the charity, Macmillan and a University of Brighton ECHO grant, the experts have designed group sessions which focus on: cardiovascular, strength and mobility exercises. Besides improving the previously mentioned physiological aspects, this class also provides a fun, social setting with participant group support and specialist advice. At just £5 a session with an initial consultation cost of £15 (first class is free) the participants also contribute to the funding of this project.

Now approaching the fourth week of the classes, positive feedback has already been given by the participants who have noticed improvements in just three weeks! Spurring excitement in the specialists for what the future of the programme holds.

The focus is now on recruiting more participants by creating promotional material and short presentations to delivery to support groups in the hope to increase the amount of active cancer survivors in the local area.