Fitness programme for cancer patients ‘making a difference’

© Jim Payne
Anita Jefferies

A programme which helps Fifers affected by cancer is making a real difference, according to an independent report.

Launched in 2014, Move More Fife is a pioneering community-based physical activity programme for cancer patients delivered by Macmillan Cancer Support in partnership with Fife Sports and Leisure Trust and NHS Fife.

It was designed around research which shows being fit and more physically active helps combat the effects of cancer and associated treatments.

Participants follow a 12-week programme of exercise with the trust’s specially-trained fitness instructors.

The report by Axiom Consultancy (Scotland) demonstrated that participants are benefiting from the specifically-designed physical activity classes.

They recorded feeling fitter and more mobile, as well as establishing much-needed support networks and friendships which helped with mood and feelings of isolation.

Feedback also showed that on completion of the programme, participants were encouraged to keep active, resulting in long-term health benefits.

The trust, which has appointed Anita Jefferies as development officer, is now embarking on a second phase of the programme which will see gardening activities added to the existing activities.

She said: “My aim over the next few months is to set up more gentle movement classes by training new volunteers and increase participation in the walks.

“I am also looking to develop a new gardening activity in the spring.”

The trust’s chief executive Ed Watson added: “The trust is committed to making a difference to the people of Fife by promoting opportunities to get physically active – this extends to people living with long-term health conditions and is the reason we self-fund an extensive health programme.”

Murdina MacDonald, Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse with NHS Fife, said the service has supported more than 400 people.

“Exercising during and after cancer treatment is safe and improves quality of life, fitness and physical functioning.

“We hope Move More Fife will become an opt-out service rather than an opt-in service.”

Move More Fife is funded by Macmillan as part of its work to constantly improve cancer care.

Macmillan partnership manager Nisreen Badiozzaman said: “Traditionally people have been told that rest was best and while it is right to rest at certain times, it is also really beneficial to get moving too.

Anyone who is interested in getting involved in Move More Fife as either a participant or volunteer can contact Anita on 01383 602127.