InspireHealth has been leading comprehensive exercise programs for people with cancer in British Columbia for 10 years. A recent position statement in Australia notes that exercise should be regular practice in conjunction with standard cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.
Exercise prescription is not a common part of standard cancer treatment in Canada. However, at InspireHealth Supportive Cancer Care in British Columbia, exercise has been recognized as an integral component of one’s cancer care plan for 10 years. We have a team of Exercise Therapists who support thousands of cancer patients every year. Our services are completely free of charge, with centres in Vancouver, Victoria and Kelowna, as well as consultations available via telemedicine and videoconference.
Due to the unique nature of each individual’s diagnosis, treatment, prior health history and fitness level, individualized consultation, assessment, and prescription ensure the safest and most effective outcomes of an exercise program during and after cancer treatment.
About InspireHealth Supportive Cancer Care
InspireHealth is a non-profit supportive cancer care program approved and partially funded by the BC Ministry of Health. InspireHealth offers individualized support and rehabilitation programs to cancer patients and their families throughout the province. All programs are offered at no cost and with no referral required.
InspireHealth’s Exercise Program offers individualized assessments, multi-level group classes and educational seminars on the importance of physical activity (see Appendix 1 for more information). The team of Exercise Therapists are certified Kinesiologists and they provide a supportive and empowering environment for individuals to improve their health and fitness. All services are available on a long-term basis and participation is encouraged before, during and after cancer treatment.
Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Patients
The benefits of exercise for individuals diagnosed with cancer are vast and well supported in the scientific literature. Benefits of safe and appropriate exercise include improvements in:
- surgical recovery
- mood, decreasing anxiety and depression
- the body’s ability to cope and manage stress
- physical functioning and activities of daily living
- overall quality of life
- energy and relieving cancer-related fatigue
- maintaining a healthy body composition
- risk and severity of treatment-related side effects (including but not limited to nausea, fatigue, pain, poor sleep, peripheral neuropathy, lymphedema); and
- maintaining and improving physical fitness levels.
Related Stories in the Media:
‘All cancer patients should be prescribed exercise, Australia guidelines say’
May 15, 2018, CBC
‘An Inspirational Approach to dealing with cancer’
February 22, 2017, Vancouver Courier
Video: Exercise Program at InspireHealth, credit Vancouver Courier
Appendix 1: InspireHealth Exercise Therapy Program Overview
An initial 90 minute consultation with an Exercise Therapist:
- Aerobic fitness, upper and lower body strength, range of motion and balance are assessed.
- Review medical and treatment history, health goals, current abilities and physical limitations.
A variety of classes:
- Individualized Exercise Class: Meet with our Exercise Therapists and have an individualized exercise plan created specifically for you based on your goals, health status and fitness level. This unique approach allows for one-on-one assistance in a group setting.
- Group Strength & Stretch (Level 1 & 2): A safe opportunity to explore strength training in a supervised group setting. Individual guidance and assistance is provided.
- Yoga: Classes are gentle and restorative. All levels and abilities welcome, yoga classes include options in chair yoga, gentle yoga, hatha yoga, and restorative yoga.
- Walk & Stretch: A daily walk has been shown to support health and longevity. Using walking poles increases the aerobic benefits, builds upper body strength, and takes impact away from the joints while providing stability.
Educational and workshop-based sessions:
- Moving Towards Health, Posture and Balance, Core Strength, Exercise and Lymphedema, Exercise and Immune Function, Exercise and Nutrition, Exercise Motivation, and the Mind-Body Connection.