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Thursday, May 07, 2015

Online service matching cancer survivors with an exercise partner or group

An important research and action agenda coming from researchers at the University of Toronto has been understanding the benefits of exercise and identifying ways to help more women participate in physical activity. One group of women that stand to benefit tremendously from physical activity includes women who have been diagnosed with cancer. Exercise for cancer patients can mean a longer life, and less cancer recurrence.

“Physical activity – even initiated after diagnosed and treatment, can help reduce risk of recurrence, improve survival, increase fitness and health, reduce negative emotions, depression symptoms, and anxiety, improve body image, and offer opportunities to gain social support and connectedness (as well as many other benefits),” says Dr. Catherine Sabiston, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Physical Activity and Mental Health and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Sabiston goes on to say that, "one of the biggest barriers that women have reported repeatedly is a lack of social support, or ‘no one to exercise with.’"

In an attempt to address this barrier, Dr. Sabiston and her colleagues have developed ActiveMatch (www.activematch.ca). This is a free online tool that helps women who have been diagnosed with cancer find an exercise partner (or group). The development and evaluation of ActiveMatch is funded by the Canadian Cancer Society Research Innovation Grant.

ActiveMatch has recently launched and women are able to sign up, create a profile, answer some exercise, lifestyle, and personality questions, and then will be matched to women who fit the criteria of interest, and offered the opportunity to search profiles and find their “perfect” exercise partner(s). Currently, ActiveMatch is being promoted to women of any age in Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area, with potential to go nation wide.

So, if you know any women who have been diagnosed with cancer, ActiveMatch could be the opportunity to help improve quality and quantity of life.

For more information, contact:
Alicia Luciani, MSc. Exercise Sciences
Research Project Manager, ActiveMatch
Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education
University of Toronto
C: 416-400-2447
T: 416-946-0262
E: alicia.luciani@mail.utoronto.ca
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