Cancer and exercise

By Jo Cordell-Cooper*

COMING out of COVID, I thought I might do some professional learning while my private gym was quiet, and I decided to train as a cancer exercise specialist.

I’ve been dealing with quite complex clients for years now and some of them have had cancer, but I felt that to consider working with clients at all stages of cancer required more expertise.

I registered for the most suitable course I could find, the US based Cancer Exercise Training Institute.

It was an eye opening and confronting course, but it has a huge global support network for personal trainers just like me that want to help people with cancer.

Many of the participants were personal trainers with cancer.

Cancer shows no bias, wreaking havoc in the healthiest bodies as well as those with multiple complexities.

Having said that, living a healthy life does reduce your risk of cancer – I’ll talk about that another time.

Exercise has long been recognised as part of a cancer recover regime.

There are many benefits to exercising before and after surgery.

The improved muscle tone and strength improves surgical outcomes.

The same can be said for most surgical procedures, not just for those with cancer.

The benefits for the person on chemotherapy are impressive.

What kind of exercise is suitable you might ask?

It is not rocket science – the types of exercise that has benefits for the general population is suitable, and can make you fitter, stronger, and help you maintain a healthy body weight.

There are also mental health benefits such as improved mood, reduced fatigue, and a boost in confidence.

Walking, bike riding, weight training, swimming, stretching are all recommended.

The key thing if you are resuming an exercise program following surgery and treatment, is that there will be guidelines to follow and a medical clearance is essential.

Your body may feel different and you may have lost a little confidence in what your body can do.

You may adapt protective postures if you have a surgical scar or amputation.

Working with an appropriately trained and experienced personal trainer is key at this stage.

Beyond feeling empowered, is the compelling evidence that research repeatedly shows a longer life span and less re-occurrence of cancer in those who exercise regularly, when compared to those who did not.

Being able to maintain a healthy body weight is also key in managing cancer as body fat often harbours sex hormone oestrogen that feeds tumour growth.

It’s a complex condition that often sees women having a hysterectomy which then leads to surgical menopause and bone density issues.

A major part of a treatment regime in this case is weight training.

For an extended version of this article, visit www.jocc.com.au/blog.

*Jo Cordell-Cooper runs the award winning business Jo CC Holistic PT. For a free smoothies recipe book go to www.jocc.com.au/smoothies. Make contact directly on 0409 862 206, or jo@jocc.com.au for personal training and wellness coaching.

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The Hobart Observer is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in and around the City of Hobart. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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