Physical Activity Across the Cancer Journey: Experiences and Recommendations From People Living With and Beyond Cancer.

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BackgroundThe majority of individuals living with and beyond cancer are not sufficiently active to achieve health benefits.ObjectiveThe aim of this study was to explore individuals' experiences of physical activity (PA) behavior across the cancer journey and to ask individuals living with and beyond cancer to identify strategies to support habitual PA.DesignAn exploratory, descriptive, qualitative design was used.MethodsPurposive sampling methods were used to recruit individuals living with and beyond cancer who had been referred to, and/or participated in, a community-based exercise program or were attending a cancer support center. The focus group discussions were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using a thematic analysis approach.ResultsSeven focus groups were conducted with 41 participants. Many individuals reported that regular PA provided a vehicle for recovery that created a sense of "self-power," defined as taking ownership and control of one's health to increase well-being. Barriers to PA participation included environmental-, patient-, and treatment-related challenges. Recommendations to support long-term adherence to PA included completion of fitness assessments at regular intervals and provision of a home exercise program.LimitationsThe benefits and barriers to PA participation for individuals diagnosed with cancers that were not represented may not have been identified. The strategies recommended to support habitual PA may be salient only to individuals whose cancer diagnoses were represented.ConclusionsExercise is seen as a vehicle for recovery from cancer but long-term adherence for individuals is complex. The findings from this study can inform the development of exercise oncology rehabilitation programs and could support a greater likelihood of program success, thereby optimizing the health, well-being, and quality of life of survivors of cancer.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalPhysical Therapy
Publication statusPublished - 01 Mar 2020

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