Fighting to overcome or living with cancer brings enormous challenges. But people can now get extra advice and support on how to exercise during treatment and recovery from a newly trained advisor at Andover Leisure Centre.
Today exercise is considered an essential part of everyday life, even for people affected by cancer.
But cancer patients or survivors do often need specialist advice and reassurance on what activities are best – especially in the early days of their run in with the disease – which is where Laura Thomson comes in.
Laura, who’s the Every Body Active co-ordinator from Andover Leisure Centre, has recently finished a course, organised and run, by cancer charity Macmillan Cancer Support, to become a specialist instructor in cancer rehabilitation.
Laura said: “Gone are the days when the advice was ‘rest is best’. A physically active lifestyle has been proven to help manage the side effects of many cancer treatments and also dramatically improve cancer patients’ recovery and long-term health.”
“We can give specialist advice and support to make sure people can feel absolutely confident and enjoy what they’re doing,” she said.
Laura can help anyone referred to the Every Body Active physical activity referral scheme by a health professional, even if they’ve made the suggestion to the physician themselves – and they may have to.
Macmillan has invested in the training courses because research showed that less than half of health professionals pro-actively talk about the benefits of keeping physically fit during and after treatment.
Michelle Wilkinson, the regional Macmillan project lead, said: “Despite strong evidence that being physically active could dramatically improve cancer patients’ recovery and long term health, many health professionals are not aware of this and the majority are not talking to their patients about it.”
“More than half (56%) of GPs, practice nurses, oncologists and cancer nurses do not speak to their patients about the possible benefits of physical activity.”
“By providing this training, we hope to help many more people to become physically active during and after cancer to improve their health and well-being.”
For more information about the local support programme and how to join Every Body Active contact Laura Thomson at the Andover Leisure Centre on 01264 347100 or visit www.valleyleisure.com.
To ask questions about cancer or to find out how to support Macmillan, visit www.macmillan.org.uk or call 0808 808 00 00.