Wednesday 3rd April 2013
Beverley van der Molen, Macmillan Information and Education Officer, is working with a personal fitness trainer to offer exercise sessions to people affected by cancer.
Working with a client with lymphoma led personal fitness trainer Mark Wild to offer his expertise to Macmillan. Mark was put in contact with our team at Paul’s Cancer Support Centre in south London, and this led to the launch of our Get Active programme last June.
We initially had no idea what the interest would be from our clients, so we held an exploratory workshop. People told us that they wanted a regular activity group and one-to-one tailored sessions.
We developed a programme open to everyone affected by cancer, during or after treatment. All of the centre’s clients are invited to come along and find out how they can be more active in a fun, friendly and safe environment. There is a mixture of low-intensity cardiovascular and resistance-based activities, held at the centre or in local parks. All classes consist of 6-10 participants, so individual support can be provided. Following the sessions, participants can have a brief one-to-one with Mark to discuss any issues.
While being physically active is safe for most people, we make sure that individuals take up the most suitable type of activity. We give them a consent form to be signed by their GP or hospital doctor before coming along to the group. Mark also gives them a Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q) to complete before their first session.
We had to develop our own guidelines for the programme, as most of the information on physical activity and cancer is about the evidence to support it, rather than on setting up a group. Our guidelines recommend that exercise professionals must be recognised as a Level 3 practitioner based on the UK’s Register of Exercise Professionals. Mark is a qualified advanced personal trainer (Level 3) and runs his own personal training business. Both Mark and the centre hold public liability insurance.
We have yet to formally evaluate our programme but client feedback is very positive.
Paul’s Cancer Support Centre was established in 1983 as London’s first cancer support group. It has evolved into a centre that provides a range of services for people affected by cancer, their family and friends.
Beverley van der Molen, Macmillan Information and Education Officer, Paul's Cancer Support Centre, London www.paulscancersupport.org.uk
We have more information and resources on physical activity.
Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs): www.exerciseregister.org
Davis N, Bateman L, Thomas R. Exercise and lifestyle after cancer – evidence review. British Journal of Cancer. 2011. Vol 105; 52–73