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Cancer patients benefit from a more active lifestyle

Impulse Leisure is proud to lead an exciting new Active for Life programme which has just launched in Basildon, Brentwood and Thurrock that will support over 200 cancer patients to live healthier, more active lifestyles.

The Active for Life programme (supported by Active Essex) provides cancer patients of all stages from diagnosis to remission, with a range of positive activities to improve their fitness.

The programme, which was tested in Thurrock, has already saw over 48 patients to improve their activity levels. Four 12-week programmes, saw participants take part in twice-weekly sessions, including aerobics, gym sessions and regular light exercise.

Fitness staff involved in the programme were upskilled to a Level 4 Cancer Rehabilitation qualification, which helped them develop a greater understanding of the disease and create personalised activity plans, adapted to suit the needs and abilities of each individual. 

 75% of patients involved in the programme moved from being inactive to fairly active, with others benefiting from the social element as well as improving their mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Harjinder, aged 60 from Grays, was referred to the programme at Impulse Leisure, Blackshots, by her GP consultant following breast surgery, which left her with limited movement in both of her arms. Since taking part in the sessions, she now attends the gym four times a week, and places a much greater importance on physical activity, as part of her daily routine.

She said: 'Before being diagnosed with breast cancer, my busy lifestyle didn't allow me the time to take part in much physical activity. Following surgery, the activity sessions have not just helped with movement, but have helped me feel stronger, both mentally and physically.'

Following the successful impact of the pilot, sporting and health organisations across the county have come together to expand the programme. The twice-weekly sessions will now take place at four locations across Basildon, Brentwood and Thurrock, including; Impulse Leisure Blackshots, The Brentwood Centre and The Gym Hub Wickford.

Gary Tapsell, Group Health & Fitness Manager at Impulse Leisure said: 'The initial pilot had taught us a lot about the specific needs and abilities of the patients, as well as showing the positive impact the sessions were making. It was clear to us that this programme needed to be more readily available across Greater Essex, and with the help of Active Essex and other community partners, we have been able to facilitate this.'

Active Essex, the county sports partnership for Greater Essex, was amongst one of the organisations involved, and supported the project by signposting funding opportunities to expand the programme.

Juliette Raison, Active Essex South West Essex relationship manager, and thematic lead for Core Market, said: 'These sessions are a perfect example of how physical activity can have such a positive impact to the lives of many.'

Cancer patients who are interested in taking part in the activity sessions, are advised to speak to their consulant, Clinical Nurse Specialist or GP for a referral to the service.

You can find out more about Active Essex at www.activeessex.org