Cyclist Fighting Cancer

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Cancer & Exercise

Cancer & Exercise

Exercise has been shown in numerous scientific studies to be the single most effective way of improving both physical and mental wellness for people surviving cancer. For a full review of the medical research evidence into the benefits of activity for cancer rehabilitation please read 2017 MacMillan Evidence Review.

A minimum of 30 minutes moderate exercise/activity 4/5 days a week have been proven to provide the following benefits;

  • Improved quality of life – helps maintains a level of aerobic fitness, mobility and strength.
  • Improved levels of self-esteem – it gives back a sense of control.
    Reduced intensity and delayed onset of Cancer Related Fatigue.
  • Reduced incidence of secondary cancers by 50%.
  • More effective response to treatment.

We are pleased to have been consulted on by fellow charity Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) on their excellent booklet specifically aimed at children and young people “Keeping your child active during and after treatment”. There is also a more detailed resource from The University of Calgary, “POEM, Paediatric Oncology Exercise Manual” which provides the evidence for insisting on children being active despite a cancer diagnosis. Therefore, we promote cycling as the best form of exercise-based rehabilitation (but encourage all and any form of appropriate activity and exercise) for children because it provides all the above benefits in a low impact, fun, sociable and exciting way!

We know that exercise and activity are good for the general population and the World Health Organisation has levels of recommendation for different age groups and circumstances World Health Organisation Physical Activity Guidelines. Cycling can help you achieve these levels as well as provide the following benefits (ALL of these benefits also apply to people living with and beyond cancer).

1. Cycling is good for your heart: Riding a bike makes your heart stronger and has been shown to reduce the risk of coronary disease.

2. Cycling is good for your muscles: Riding a bike is great for toning and building your muscles, especially in the lower half of the body. It’s also a great low-impact mode of exercise for those with joint conditions or injuries to the legs or hips, which might keep them from being active.

3. Cycling is good for your waistline: You can burn a lot of calories while biking, especially when you cycle faster than a leisurely pace, and cycling has been associated with helping to keep weight gain down. Cycling has the added benefit of ramping up your metabolism, even after the ride is over.

4. Cycling is good for your lifespan: Cycling is a great way to increase your longevity, as it has regularly been associated with increased ‘life-years’, even when adjusted for risks of injury through cycling.

5. Cycling is good for your coordination: In simple terms the apparently natural process of pedalling, balancing and steering requires multiple skills and when done at increased speeds improve with practice.

6. Cycling is good for your mental health: Riding a bike has been linked to improved mental health.

7. Cycling is good for your immune system: Cycling can strengthen your immune system, and could protect against certain kinds of cancers.

Before you consider starting to exercise please consult your medical team, if you would like to talk to one of our Cancer Exercise Specialists email us via the contact form or call 0300 500 4040.