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Research study offers free exercise classes for those living with cancer

Working to improve quality of life through evidence-based wellness resources
Credit: Julia Daun

Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), and the Alberta Cancer Foundation (ACF), (EXCEL) is a five-year Canada-wide research study.

EXCEL aims to increase the accessibility of exercise programs for rural and remote cancer survivors, empowering them to be more physically active so they can achieve the many benefits that exercise provides.

What is EXCEL?

EXCEL is a FREE, 12-week exercise program designed specifically for individuals undergoing or recovering from cancer treatment.

Classes are delivered online through a secure video-conferencing platform, meaning you can attend from the comfort of your own home! Where possible, classes are conducted in-person. Instructors also provide education to support participants’ commitment to being more physically active and tailor exercises to individual abilities.

Who can participate in EXCEL?

EXCEL is for individuals living with cancer across all stages of cancer care. Exercise is a safe evidence-based supportive cancer care resource, and improves health-related quality of life, sleep, symptoms of anxiety/depression/stress, mood, lymphedema and cancer-related fatigue.

To participate in EXCEL, you:

  • Have/had a cancer diagnosis;
  • Must be pre-treatment, on treatment or within three years of completing treatment;
  • Are over the age of 18;
  • Are able to consent to the EXCEL project in English;
  • Can participate at mild to moderate levels of exercise intensity; and
  • Have access to reliable internet (for those joining an online program).

What participants are saying about EXCEL

I feel very lucky to have found this program and want anyone that has gone through or is going through cancer to have the benefits of something like this. There is so much more that should be made available to cancer patients without us having to go and look for it.” – Lysa

Positive comments were made on how to correct body positioning so as to not injure any parts. Many and varied adjustments were made to help a lot of us complete the various exercises that chemo made a bit overwhelming.” – Judy

The classes have made a real impact in my life. I have more energy during the day. I am sleeping better. I have a bit of muscle development. I feel the support of the instructors and classmates has improved my outlook, for sure.” – Susan

Listen to more EXCEL stories by watching our Participant Voices video.

Learn more online here – and check out our EXCEL project information.

How to participate in EXCEL

If you meet the eligibility criteria and would like to know more about the EXCEL program, please email [email protected] or the Ontario Research Coordinator Daniel Sibley at [email protected].

Credit: Julia Daun