Last week I had the privilege of attending the American College of Sports Medicine national conference. The American College of Sports Medicine (or ACSM, as I know them) is essentially the global authority on all things related to exercise science and sports medicine.
I have been attending ACSM conferences for the last 20+ years, and always leave with a renewed sense of purpose and inspiration. This year was no different.
Over the last two decades, I have seen the field of exercise oncology grow from basically nothing – an idea held by a select few – to what I believe it is today….a movement.
A movement so big, that it is being embraced by the global leaders in exercise.
This conference lasted 5 days, and every day there were sessions on exercise oncology. Researchers from all over the world came together to share their data and talk about how to translate their findings into standard practice.
Therefore, my biggest take away from this conference is simple.
We know exercise works.
The research is there. It has been there. Since the first study demonstrating the effectiveness of exercise in a cancer population in 1989, tens of thousands of similar publications have followed.
Research has conclusively demonstrated that patients who exercise have better treatment outcomes, improved quality of life, increased fitness parameters, fewer side effects, less depression, anxiety, emergency room visits, 30-day readmissions, and a shorter length of hospital stay. They are more likely to go into remission, and less likely to die from their cancer.
Yes, exercise works.
Why, then, is it still a fact that less than 5% of cancer patients actually exercise?
It seems to me that there is a disconnect.
Somehow, we have decades of research, but have failed to disseminate this information to those who need it the most.
Therefore, my renewed sense of purpose involves you.
If you are reading this, I need you. I need patients, caregivers, health care workers, exercise professionals, researchers, oncologists, administrators, and even those of you who don’t really fit any of those categories.
My dream – and one that I will be focusing on bringing to fruition all summer long now – is to equip you to be an ambassador for exercise oncology.
I believe we need people just like you telling everyone you come into contact with that exercise works. That it is possible to exercise during cancer treatment. That even if you don’t feel like it, if you just give us 10 minutes of your time, you will feel better.
Let’s start a movement……for movement!
A movement-movement. Get it?
Stay tuned….Because together, we are going to change the world!!