27 May 2013

Stride studyCancer survivors in metropolitan and rural areas of South Australia are being sought to take part in an online lifestyle program, which is designed to increase their physical activity and improve diet.

Volunteers who join the University of South Australia’s Stride study will take part in a 12 week program and wear a pedometer to monitor their walking as they are encouraged to reach weekly step goals.

The study will be tailored to the individual needs of participants, taking into consideration any physical impairments or restrictions they may have as well as their own perceptions of exertion.

Their step goals will be recorded on a website which will have interactive features such as an online forum to help connect those with other participants, information on healthy eating, and a community notice board where local organisations can post upcoming events.

Lauren Frensham, PhD candidate of the Exercise for Health and Human Performance Research Group, said the growth of online technology means the Stride study will provide an innovative method for delivering health promotion services.

“Cancer survivorship care is a neglected phase of cancer care and many cancer survivors are not sufficiently active.

“Increasing physical activity can reduce the impact of cancer-related functional impairment and fatigue, by improving cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and endurance. This can help individuals to return to work, to be able to perform daily-living tasks and improve their overall quality of life.

"We conducted a pilot study of this project last year and had some very positive outcomes. All of our participants increased their walking during the program, and participants reported feeling better and more confident about themselves and their health."

One of the participants of the pilot program, Richard Kruger, highlighted the advantages of the program for rural participants.

“Joining walking groups can be difficult if you live away from cities, in more isolated areas. It’s a bit easier for me as I look after sheep on a farm and so I am used to taking a lot of steps, each day.

“Being able to see what you have walked and having a graph which tracks your progress means you have a better picture of what you have achieved and what you still need to do each day, so anytime I was short, I could just do a few laps around the house to make up the amount of steps.”

This project is a Cancer Australia Supporting people with cancer Grant initiative, funded by
the Australian Government.

For further information on volunteering please contact: Lauren Frensham office 8302 2680

Media contact: Will Venn office 8302 0965 email Will.Venn@unisa.edu.au

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