Bristol cancer survivors to get energised

Monday, 11 February 2013

An innovative exercise scheme for cancer patients provided by North Bristol NHS Trust has been developed and extended across Bristol leisure centres.

The classes are aimed at people who have had cancer to combat the physical effects such as fatigue, weight gain, nerve damage and lymphoedema.

The 12 week Energise Programme will provide people with advice and support from specialist instructors to help them gain fitness to that they can get back into mainstream activities.

The programme builds on the exercise scheme at Southmead Hospital for cancer patients run by physiotherapists.

It is aimed at patients who are three months on from completing their courses of treatment.

Annie Dixon, Specialist Physiotherapist from North Bristol NHS Trust, said: “We have had very positive outcomes from the Southmead programme and the participants have thoroughly enjoyed both the exercise and group support that is offered.  

“We are really pleased that these programmes can now be provided in leisure centres as well as in the hospital setting.”

Catherine Neck, Macmillan Network Lead for Survivorship at Avon, Somerset & Wiltshire Cancer services, who is leading the Energise Programme, said: “Studies have shown that physical activity can help to reduce fatigue, reduce stress and anxiety, increase bone density which prevents fractures, decrease risk of heart problems, build muscle strength and maintain a healthy weight.

“In addition to these benefits, regular exercise helps to reduce the risk of disease recurrence and may also help improve other existing conditions.

“There is also the added benefit that they are exercising with people who have gone through similar experiences and they can support each other and socialise”

The first course is being run at Easton Leisure Centre, from early February and will run weekly.

A second session will run from Henbury Leisure Centre starting from early March, also on a weekly basis.

The Energise Programme is being run in partnership with the Avon, Somerset & Wiltshire Cancer Network with North Bristol NHS Trust, Bristol City Council and Sports and Leisure Management.

Councillor Simon Cook, Bristol City Council’s cabinet member for culture and sport said: "Providing

specialist fitness support is one way of helping those recovering from cancer to feel healthier and fitter.

“Our leisure centres are well-equipped and have fully-trained staff on hand to ensure those taking part in the exercise programme receive all the support and encouragement they need."

The classes are open to anyone who has had any type of cancer, and who are three months on from completing their courses of treatments of chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery and are deemed stable and suitable to start building back up their fitness.

Referrals need to be made by a doctor, nurse or state registered chartered physiotherapist. For details on how to obtain a referral form please contact Macmillan 121 Support on 0117 3232125 or email

macmillan121support@nbt.nhs.uk.