Staying active was my key to recovery, says Di
Posted: Mon, 10 Apr 2017 14:40
DI FOX was a very active person before being diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. A personal trainer by profession, Di also coached badminton and was a pilates instructor but the cancer treatment took its toll on her body.
She said: "I could easily run an eight-minute mile pace and was really active, so I was in great shape before I was diagnosed. Then when treatment started, I immediately felt the effects of it on my body."
But Di, aged 50, from Fernhill Heath, near Worcester, knew better than to just rest during treatment. "I decided to still do as much as I could, but I'd listen to my body. I did get tired much more quickly and my muscles were weaker, but I stayed sane thanks to exercise. I believe I recovered more quickly thanks to it."
According to Macmillan Cancer Support, although doctors used to advise rest and recuperation during cancer treatment, the advice has changed dramatically. Being physically active is now known to be very important for people at all stages of the cancer journey. Despite this, less than a quarter of people living with and after cancer are active to recommended levels.
So Di, who finished treatment less than a year ago, has taken up the challenge of running Move More Worcestershire, a new initiative aiming to help people living with cancer in the county to benefit from physical activity as a part of a healthy lifestyle.
Macmillan Cancer Support and Sports Partnership Herefordshire and Worcestershire have teamed up to create Move More Worcestershire, with Di at the helm as the new Macmillan physical activity coordinator.
The scheme, which involves an individually-tailored programme of physical activity support for people living with cancer, is available across Worcestershire.
The programme is part of the charity's national campaign to ensure that people living with cancer are supported to become physically active before, during and after their treatment.
Research now shows being active can play a vital role in helping to prevent a recurrence, slow disease progression and mitigate the side effects and consequences of cancer treatment such as fatigue.
According to the NHS guide for exercising during and after treatment for cancer, research shows that exercise can help with the side effects of treatment such as fatigue, pain, nausea and vomiting. It can also improve the patient's mood and feelings of confidence.
While too much exercise can make patients tired, so can too little. It is important individuals find their own level. More importantly, the research shows that exercise can reduce the risk of the cancer coming back, says the NHS.
Di said: "I'm so proud to be part of Move More Worcestershire. It's great to be in a position where I can help people in our county who, like me, are living with or beyond cancer to benefit from physical activity."
The programme is designed to help people with cancer to become and stay active at a level that is right for them - whether that is doing gardening, joining a walking group, joining a 'get back into sport' programme like no strings badminton or going to a gym.
"Move More Worcestershire is about providing opportunities for people to get moving in a way that suits them and fits within their lifestyle and is also enjoyable," said Di.
Tudor Humphreys, partnership manager for Macmillan in Worcestershire, said: "Taking part in physical activity can play a vital role for all people affected by cancer, whether they are in the middle of treatment or on the road to recovery.
"We really hope local people affected by cancer make the most of this support that has been made possible thanks to our supporters across the county."
For information and advice from the Move More Worcestershire team about getting active with cancer, call 01905 855498 or email firstname.lastname@example.org