Report supports the benefit of physical activity for people living with cancer

Anita Jeffries, Move More Fife development officer.
Anita Jeffries, Move More Fife development officer.

A programme which helps local people affected by cancer is making a real difference by delivering health and wellbeing benefits, as well as supporting partner services which they rely on.

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

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

The programme is based on group-based exercise classes, including walking groups and gentle movement classes. It offers people a 12-week programme where individuals can exercise safely with the trust’s specially-trained fitness instructors.

The report by Axiom Consultancy (Scotland) Ltd, demonstrated that local people participating in the programme are benefitting from the specifically-designed physical activity classes. Participants 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 is now embarking on a second phase of the programme which will see gardening activities added to the existing activities.

It has appointed Anita Jefferies as a Move More Fife development officer to oversee the project.

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

Ed Watson, chief executive of Fife Sports and Leisure Trust, said: “We welcome the report’s findings and are encouraged by the feedback of the participants of Move More Fife.”

Murdina MacDonald, Macmillan Lead Cancer Nurse with NHS Fife, said: “In the two years since this service was launched it has supported over 400 individuals. 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.”