This morning I went along, for the first time, to an Active ABC exercise class. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, other than that we would all be 'in the same boat' of having been treated for breast cancer.
It was a fun class. Not an easy class, it had a full range of cardiovascular and strength/condition exercises, albeit selected to suitable for people who may have had major surgery as recently as six weeks ago (like me!) or who were mid chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
There were eight of us aged from, erm, me to about 70... the instructor said that it is hard to recruit younger women, not because they are more active but because a lot of the publicity photos show only older women (apart from where they show instructors).
After a good warm-up and low-impact workout we were put into pairs for the focused exercises. I was impressed that the instructor has sussed my ability level really quickly and paired me with the only other person for whom exercise was already part of her life. The exercises were gently challenging and gave me a lot more confidence to use my 'affected' arm normally, albeit avoiding heavy lifting. To be handed a 1kg weight to use was surprising; discovering I could do so completely pain free was a delight. Once we had done the whole circuit of exercises there was a cool down session and then a much appreciated cuppa and a biscuit (that's my kind of exercise class!).
This class - and those at other locations - began to encourage people to healthier lifestyles. Apparently there is now numerical evidence to show that regular exercise measurably reduces the risk of cancer recurring (though clearly doesn't stop it arising in the first place!). Surprising then that funding for this programme may not be renewed when its current two year budget concludes.
I had a fun morning, and have been warned by the instructor I won't be able to move tomorrow! If the only benefits are those of having fun and gaining a bit more confidence to use my arm normally, then I reckon the class is worthwhile and funding ought to be extended to give others the same opportunity.