Expanded exercise program launched for cancer patients

Building strength and confidence after cancer treatment is the aim of an expanded exercise program being offered by the Erie St. Clair Regional Cancer Program

Run in conjunction with Windsor Regional Hospital, RENEW is a wellness program designed to help people heal from the physical and emotional side effects of cancer and cancer treatments.

Since the program began at Windsor Regional Hospital in 2013, more than 400 people have participated. Now, the Erie St. Clair Regional Cancer Program has joined forces with eight fitness centres to expand its RENEW exercise program throughout the region.

Specially trained fitness instructors help participants build strength and confidence, allowing them to start slow and go at their pace while working with other patients.

“The treatments made me very weak and the gym was never really my cup of tea, so I was nervous at first,” said patient and family advisory committee co-chair Diane Marley, who went through the program in 2013 after breast cancer treatment.

“But this program was about so much more than fitness. It helped me walk distances, carry my own purse and get my own groceries, which I had not been able to do after the treatments,” she said. “It was an incredible opportunity to work out with instructors who understood my needs and limitations, and other participants who supported each other in and out of the class.”

The classes were previously only offered at one location during certain times of the year. But the program will branch out starting next month. Classes will run year-round at Windsor Squash and Fitness Club, the Windsor YMCA at Central Park Athletics, Pure Cycle and Yoga Studio in Belle River, Performance 360 Health and Fitness Club in Chatham, Ironworks Gym in Sarnia, Beachwalk Family Fitness in Essex, Windsor’s St. Denis Centre and the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County.

The 60-minute exercise classes will run twice a week at each location. Times will vary depending on location.

The classes include light to moderate strengthening and toning exercises, which are modified to allow people to work at their own pace and meet their personal goals.

“People living with cancer, on active treatment or those who have recently completed treatment can benefit greatly from a moderate amount of regular exercise,” said chief of oncology Dr. Sindu Kanjeekal. “It helps improve quality of life, as well as cardiovascular and muscular fitness.”

All patients at the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre who are receiving treatment or who are in follow-up care are eligible for the program. But physician clearance is required.

Thanks to support from the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation, participants pay a subsidized fee of $40 for their first 10-week session.

Source: The Windsor Star

Centre for Human Performance and Health partners with cancer program

On Wednesday, Jan. 16, the Centre for Human Performance and Health (CHPH) partnered with Windsor Regional Hospital and Erie St. Clair Regional Cancer Program on expansion of a fitness program tailored to cancer patients.

The RENEW exercise program is intended to help cancer patients improve their physical, social, and mental health during the cancer journey. Fitness instructors are specially trained to provide participants with exercise prescription that helps build strength, enhance flexibility, improve balance and increase self-confidence. The exercises are specifically modified to meet each participant’s needs and achieve their individual goals.

Chad Sutherland, director of operations for CHPH, and Sandra Ondracka, Lancer Recreation co-ordinator, are leading the UWindsor involvement with the RENEW exercise program.

Sutherland expects many positive outcomes to the patients involved in the program but cites access to safe and effective exercise as the most important benefit to the patients.

“Research shows that fitness training throughout the cancer continuum has been very beneficial to the patient’s overall health,” he says.

Ondracka agrees with Sutherland’s assessment of the health benefits but adds the benefit of student interaction as a positive outcome of the RENEW program.

“Our students will be delivering this program on-campus at the St. Denis Centre, with direct connection to the patients,” says Ondracka. “In terms of high-impact student experiential learning opportunities, this is as good as it gets.”

Michael Khan, dean of the Faculty of Human Kinetics, echoes Sutherland’s comments.

“Our core values in HK are research, teaching, and community,” he says. “The RENEW-CHPH partnership demonstrates all three values clearly.”

The RENEW exercise program has been in existence since 2013, but with the help of CHPH and seven other fitness facilities, the program will grow to service patients throughout the Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, and Sarnia-Lambton regions.

Source: UWindsor Daily News