Step inside the gym at Bloomhill during one of the twice-daily exercise classes and you’ll find clients working at their own pace, each person working through their own tailored program and supported by peers and Exercise Physiologist Ryan Day.
Ryan helps Bloomhill Cancer Care clients through individual assessments, personalised programs, group exercise, and Pilates classes.
“People sometimes hesitate to go to a gym after a cancer diagnosis, because they are unsure of where they should start and what exercises are safe, and a gym environment can be intimidating” Ryan said.
“Bloomhill is the perfect place to come to for exercise support.
“We get to know you as an individual. We find out where you’re at, and there will be exercises that help you no matter what stage you are at – pre-treatment, post-treatment or beyond.
“It’s not just a post-treatment six-week program. We want people to create lasting habits and be healthy and fit long term. We want exercise to be as normal as brushing your teeth in your daily routine.”
The benefits of exercise during a cancer experience are well-known.
“If you’ve just received a cancer diagnosis, doing exercise will help you get as strong and fit as you can, building endurance and strength reserves you can draw on during treatment,” Ryan said.
“While you’re receiving treatment, the goal is to maintain as much muscle mass and strength as we can. It helps people tolerate treatment better, and even helps improve chemotherapy finish rates. Some people get side effects and have to reduce the chemo dosage or amount of cycles, but tailored exercises can help reduce the severity of these side effects.
“If you’ve finished treatment, exercise has been shown through research to mitigate symptoms of many common side effects.”
“Common side effects include fatigue, deconditioning (muscle loss) and loss of mobility/balance associated with the loss of conditioning. Specifically tailored exercise can reduce the impact of these side effects and start to rebuild physical capacity.
Personalised exercise programs are important, he said.
“Even within the same cancer type, people might have completely different responses to the same exercise program,” he said.
“I like to follow up with people for that reason, check how their exercises at home are going, and work with them in group classes to help them get the right balance.”
The sense of satisfaction after seeing a person improve through exercise is huge, Ryan said.
“Sometimes a person is so deconditioned after treatment that walking up the steps to the gym, they’re breathless and fatigued.
“Three or four weeks later, they’re back to walking their dog. To see them come from that to being back to doing what they enjoy doing, it’s rewarding.”