Information for Exercise Professionals

There are so many potential benefits to exercise! Exercise professionals have much to offer to cancer survivors by helping them participate in safe and effective exercise training!

WHY SHOULD CANCER SURVIVORS EXERCISE?

Participating in regular exercise has numerous physical and psychological benefits for cancer survivors, which include:

  • The maintenance or improvement of all aspects of health-related fitness

  • Reducing the severity of side effects from treatment

  • Improving psychosocial distress-related outcomes such as anxiety, depression, stress, emotional well-being, mental health

  • Improving overall quality of life

  • Reducing cancer-related fatigue (a common and significant side effect)

  • Overall wellness, such as reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes

Exercise may also have beneficial effects directly on cancer outcomes, such as:

  • Reducing the risk of developing certain cancers such as colon, breast (postmenopausal) and endometrial cancers. This is another potential benefit of exercise to help motivate your clients who do not have cancer!

  • The potential to reduce the risk of a cancer recurrence and mortality for those with certain diagnoses (breast and colon cancer, and potentially prostate as well).

WHAT TYPE AND AMOUNT OF EXERCISE IS APPROPRIATE FOR CANCER SURVIVORS?

 

The main recommendation for all cancer survivors is to avoid inactivity. The types and amount of exercise recommended for cancer survivors are similar to the public health guidelines for the general population. 

 

While the principles of training you use when working with the general population will largely apply when working with cancer survivors, the effects of cancer and its treatments need to be considered when working with these individuals. Cancer refers to more than a 100 different specific diseases, so each cancer survivor will have a unique factors to consider, including the following:

  • The type of treatment(s) they are receiving or have completed. Common cancer treatments often include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or some combination of these.

  • The specific effects of the disease and its treatments on the body. These may be specific to an area of the body or can have more wide-spread effects throughout the body.

  • The point at which the cancer survivor is at in their treatment. The ability of a cancer survivor to participate in exercise (and their training response) may vary depending whether they are currently receiving or have completed treatment.

 

IMPORTANT CONSIDERATIONS:

 

  • Given the growing number of cancer survivors in the population, it is becoming more likely that you will encounter one of these individuals in your work. Specific training opportunities are available to you to find out how to apply your existing skills and experiences to working with cancer survivors. See the resources page for some general information regarding exercise and cancer.

  • Always follow restrictions or guidelines provided by other health care professionals involved in the survivor’s care (e.g. surgeon, oncologist, nurse, occupational and physical therapist, etc.), and do not hesitate to contact these individuals for further support to offer safe and effective exercise for any survivor that you may be working with.

  • Your facility may offer their own training and/or have specific requirements for you as their employee.

  • ALWAYS ensure that you are working within the SCOPE OF PRACTICE appropriate to your training and certification.    

 

TRAIN WITH ACE:

Exercise Professionals who work with ACE programming will have the opportunity to be reimbursed for completing ACE training! Contact us for more information if you are interested in being a part of the ACE team.

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