Researchers at the University of Calgary are looking at the impact of a structured exercise program on family caregivers of cancer patients. It’s estimated that 8.1 million Canadians provide care to loved ones with health challenges. Often these caregivers put their own needs aside to care for loved ones and experience negative health implications. For instance, they may experience symptoms of depression, anxiety, relationship strain and diminished physical health.
The 24-week study, called RECHARGE (which stands for Renewing Caregiver Health and Well-Being Through Exercise), will look at how exercise impacts both physical and emotional health in caregivers. “Results from RECHARGE will help to expand our current understanding of how exercise can benefit family caregivers, as well as contribute to a greater scientific and social foundation for improving the experience of cancer for entire families,” says Colleen Cuthbert, a nurse practitioner in cancer care.
Cuthbert developed the study along with University of Calgary co-supervisors Dr. Nicole Culos-Reed, a research associate at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, and Dr. Dianne Tapp, dean of the faculty of nursing.