Thrive Gym helps cancer survivors

By Manal Sarhan

The University of Calgary researcher Nicole Culos-Reed and her research group are investigating the potential of exercise in maintaining and sustaining the health of cancer survivors.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, an estimated 177,800 new cases of cancer and 75,000 deaths from cancer will occur in Canada in 2011. An expected 6,100 deaths and 16,200 diagnoses will take place in Alberta.

In 2011 the cancer causing the most deaths in Alberta was lung cancer.

Because of the health benefits cancer survivors gain through exercise, Culos-Reed created various ‘Thrive’ programs for survivors. The three programs are Yoga Thrive, the Thrive Centre, and the Thrive Program.

Yoga Thrive is yoga for cancer survivors. The Thrive program is for exercise testing and prescription and the Thrive Centre is a dedicated fitness facility for cancer survivors and the people who support them.

Motivation to instigate these community-based programs by Culos-Reed derived from her firm belief that research findings should be translated into reality for the benefit of others.

Culos-Reed’s findings show that exercise is indeed beneficial to a cancer survivor’s maintenance of health, but depends greatly on the motivation and action of the participant.

“Just do it — keep moving, because the benefits of exercise are only realized with continued involvement and performance.” said Culos-Reed.

Research demonstrates that having support from friends and loved ones makes an enormous difference regarding reaping the full benefits of exercise.

“We know we are facilitating improved health, wellness and overall enhanced quality of life to our local community of cancer survivors through these programs which are firmly based on solid research evidence.”

Culos-Reed said the Thrive Centre is run with the help of volunteers.

“There are always volunteers opportunities within my research group and within our community-based programs. Students just need to be proactive and get in touch,” she said.

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