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  • Writer's pictureValere Health

Exercise during cancer treatment- It's worth it

Updated: Oct 19, 2020

For many people, exercise is recreational. Unfortunately, when times are tough, exercise is often the first thing to go – many people spend anywhere between $10 and $100 on exercise each week and are looking to reduce their costs.

Would you also stop taking a prescription pill, your chemotherapy drug, or an asthma puffer when you were low on time, money, or energy?

I have had many clients over the past few years say that medications and supplements are ‘the need to have’ and exercise is ‘the nice to have’ as it is the enjoyment factor. But exercise is absolutely a need to have and can save you money in the long run!

Exercise has been described as one of the most under prescribed medications the modern world has to offer. And the best thing is the only side effects are sweat and a smile!

“On present knowledge exercise offers the greatest potential as an adjunct therapy to reduce treatment related side-effects, increase quality of life and extend survival in people with cancer”- Dr Prue Cormie

Exercise may even save you money! That’s right save you money I said it! The positive effects of exercise may reduce what you need to spend on other medication, doctors’ appointments, other allied health appointments such as physio, and reduce your time spent in hospital.

Over the past 50 years the cost of cancer drugs has risen from $100 a month to $5,000 a month. You simply have to find ways to save money and reduce your costs when you’re going through treatment, especially if you can’t work as much as you would like.

A recent study (Wonders et al, 2019) evaluated the effectiveness of 12 weeks of strength and cardiovascular training on medical related costs and hospital admissions.

It found the exercise significantly reduced:

  • Hospital admissions

  • Average length of stay in hospital

  • Emergency room visits

These changes in turn reduced patients’ costs per hospital visit by $2,834 which is a total saving of 28%. See I told you exercise can save you money!

So how much do I need to do?

The Clinical Oncology Society of Australia recommends 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous cardiovascular exercise and 2-3 resistance training sessions a week. This can be done at home or in a gym.

Medicare also offers care plans for anyone with cancer, or has had cancer, and of course there are private health rebates available.

At Valere Health, with a Medicare referral we will bulk bill a 30-minute consultation which will include how to exercise safely, set some goals and how to incorporate exercise in your life considering your circumstances.

So I challenge you today to put your health first and make exercise a priority!

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