The Tuffit® arrives at Addenbrooke’s Hopsital

The Tuffit® has ARRIVED!

The fabulous guys at ‘Fit for Keeps’ have very kindly sent the REACT Physiotherapy Team here at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge our very own Tuffit®. It is now sitting very proudly in the Outpatient gym ready to be used as part of an exercise class programme for patients undergoing Cancer treatment.

REACT (Rehabilitation & Exercise During Addenbrookes Cancer Treatment) was set up in December 2016 by using an Innovation Grant from ACT (Addebrooke’s Charitable Trust).

Survival rates for most Cancers are improving due to both improvements in screening/early detection and in overall treatment options offered to patients. However, this has meant more patients surviving the disease, only to be left with the consequences and long term health issues caused by their original treatment (fatigue, pain, musculoskeletal issues, depression, anxiety etc). Cancer survivors are also at increased risk of further Cancers, Cardiovascular Disease, Osteoporosis and Diabetes.

Research in recent years has focused on exercise participation during Cancer treatment and has found that not only can exercise counteract some of these side effects of treatment and prevent long term health conditions such as Diabetes, Osteoporosis and Cardiovascular Disease, exercise can also improve the prognosis of some types of Cancer:

45-55% risk reduction of recurrence in Breast Cancer

50% risk reduction of recurrence in Colorectal Cancer

30% risk reduction of Mortality in Prostate Cancer.

Overwhelming evidence now exists to support exercise participation during Cancer therapy. However, exercise programmes available for Cancer patients to safely exercise under the supervision of appropriately qualified professionals are still the exception rather than the norm across the UK due to our financially overwhelmed NHS.

In Cambridge, we have been fortunate to receive the support of our hospital charity to set up REACT which includes:

  • Individual assessment and exercise prescription.
  • Circuit based, cardiovascular group sessions led by appropriately qualified physiotherapists.
  • Education sessions – Lymphoedema Prevention, Abdominal Surgery Recovery, How to Exercise Safely with a Stoma, Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation, Bone Health etc.

The difficulty for any of us working with Cancer patients lies in motivating these patients to exercise and promoting the many benefits, at a time when many are reducing their activity levels and often feeling at their absolute worst. REACT hopes to support patients who wish to remain physically active during the Cancer treatment by providing safe, evidence based exercise opportunities as well as encourage and motivate those patients who maybe a complete novice when it comes to exercise.

Where does the Tuffit® come in?

As part of REACT, we are running weekly cardiovascular/aerobic based circuit-style classes for Cancer patients. These sessions are led by a specialist physiotherapist/Cancer Exercise specialist and include H.I.I.T, Progressive Resistance and Weight Training (for those on hormonal therapy), Bone Health Exercise (for those at risk of reduced Bone Mineral Density) as well as Balance and Falls Prevention for those whose neurological system may have been affected by their Cancer or their treatment.

The Tuffit will be used for weekly circuit style classes for Cancer patients

The Tuffit® is a fantastic piece of equipment which can be included in our circuit-set up to add variety to our sessions, as well as proving a safe and secure way to perform many of our resistance-based and core stability exercises. Our lovely gym has a great set up with our big pieces of high-tech equipment (Treadmill, Cross Trainer, Bikes etc), but the Tuffit® will fit right in and add a talking point to our classes!

Addenbrooke’s Physiotherapy Department – Musculoskeletal Outpatient Gym

Having the Tuffit® in class is also a fantastic introduction to the product. Our patients often travel quite distance to attend our sessions, and regular attendance may not be a realistic possibility for some of them. The Tuffit® is a versatile piece of kit that patients can use at home and still achieve many of the goals that would otherwise be addressed in a gym setting. Hopefully, using the Tuffit® in our classes will encourage people to use a Tuffit® in the comfort of their own home and therefore motivation patients to continue with long term exercise participation.

For more information on REACT and the benefits of exercise during Cancer treatment please email Nicola Day at react@addenbrookes.nhs.uk

Next Time: ‘How to Use the Tuffit® to Keep your Bones Healthy’

Nicola Day is a Senior Physiotherapist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital Cambridge specialising in Oncology Rehabilitation. She qualified as a Cancer Exercise Specialist after undergoing training at the Rocky Mountain Cancer Rehabilitation Institute (University of Northern Colorado). She is also a trained Pilates, Tai Chi and Nordic Walking for Physiotherapy Rehabilitation Instructor.

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