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Image by National Cancer Institute

Can you exercise with cancer?
Yes you can!

As a Level 4 Exercise for Cancer Rehab specialist I’ve worked with people undergoing treatment for a range of cancers, including breast, prostate, skin, head and neck, and blood cancer.  

 

Their treatments include surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy, and I work with each person to adjust sessions according to their treatment schedules, the individual side effects they experience and their energy levels on a given day. 

In 2018 my dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and as part of his treatment, he was prescribed a 12-week exercise programme. Seeing the positive difference it made to his mood, side effects and general wellbeing, I decided to qualify as a Cancer Exercise Specialist, so that I could help others reap the same benefits as my father.   

Gayle, Cancer Rehab Client

“On a day when I have not been feeling my best Simon has helped me to focus on what I can do; instilling a sense of positivity and achievement in myself that has helped me physically and mentally.” 

Karen D, Cancer Rehab Client

"Simon’s knowledge, compassion and support has been invaluable to me during a difficult and challenging time. My fitness levels, strength and resilience continue to improve as a result of my working with Simon.” 

Karen W, Cancer Rehab Client

"I come away from each session feeling so positive and on a high but not exhausted. I am building strength and fitness at a sustainable pace and I look forward to every session."

Exercise before, during and after cancer treatment has been shown to have a wide range of benefits, including:

  • Getting fit for surgery, speeding recovery times, and reducing length of hospital stays

  • Gaining strength to withstand treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy

  • Decreased fatigue, the most common side effect of cancer treatment

  • Positive impacts on anxiety and depression

  • Improving flexibility and joint range of motion after treatment

  • Improved body composition – reducing bodyfat and increasing muscle mass 

  • Improving body image, sleep patterns, and quality of life

  • Preventing long term and late effects of cancer treatment 

  • Reducing the risk of relapse and improving longer term life outcomes.

Exercise tailored to you

Train with me online or in-person at a small private studio in central London. Each 1-hour session is tailored to your requirements and includes a range of mobility, stretching and strengthening exercises, incorporating resistance training, pilates and yoga. I’ll carry out regular screening of treatment side effects and adapt exercises accordingly, so that you can exercise safely. 

 

If you or someone you know could benefit from my help and support, please don’t hesitate to get in touch

Researching the benefits of exercise on cancer rehab

There’s a growing body of academic evidence on the benefits of exercise for cancer rehab, and I’ve been part of two clinical research trials, helping cancer patients to train safely as they undergo treatment, and help them build back stronger after treatment ends.

SafeFit

Set up by Macmillan Cancer Support and the CanRehab Trust in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, SafeFit helped cancer patients maintain and improve their physical and emotional wellbeing while shielding. Over a period of six months, I worked with participants delivering personalised and flexible exercise and wellbeing sessions online. 

ACTIOHN 

As a Cancer Exercise Specialist on the ACTIOHN research trial at the University of Liverpool, I’ve been working with a group of Head and Neck cancer patients to plan and implement 8-week exercise programmes, as part of their treatment. The goal is to help them to recover faster from surgery, lessen the side effects of radiotherapy, gain strength and cardio fitness, and improve flexibility.

Logo for Macmillan Cancer Support
Logo for SafeFit Cancer Rehab exercise programme
Logo for CanRehab Trust
Logo for University of Liverpool

“I had not exercised for 9 months when I started working with Simon and in that time I had had a mastectomy, lymph node clearance, 18 weeks of chemo and had only finished 15 sessions of radiotherapy two months prior. Before I became ill, I did one hour of kickboxing a week. Even that seemed a long way off when we started, as I couldn’t walk around the village without a rest. Six months later I am doing two to three hours of kickboxing a week, and I’ve also started “Couch to 5k”. 

Simon has listened and worked with me, helping me set attainable goals and providing guidance which allows me to exercise effectively and, importantly, safely. I needed his gentle encouragement to get started and keep going. He has provided that support and more. I WILL get my next kickboxing belt, and I WILL reduce my BMI enough for my next surgery to be safe, and that is due in no small part to the support Simon has provided.” 

Claire's story
SafeFit participant

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