As more people are surviving cancer, rehabilitation and recovery are increasingly important. There is now a strong consensus that exercise is beneficial for the quality of life of cancer patients and survivors. Using Mason Durie's health model Te Whare Tapa Whā, Master's student Martine Matipo-Kolisko set out to explore the experiences of physical activity and wellbeing in cancer patients and survivors engaging in a cancer exercise programme at Otago Polytechnic.
Cancer patients and survivors report a range of benefits for their wellbeing from engaging in physical activity.
Martine used one on one semi-structured interviews with four exercise programme participants and one clinician. She also recorded observational notes as the participants were exercising. The cornerstones of health described by Te Whare Tapa Whā provided a lens to analyse and interpret the data.
Martine's study demonstrated that the health benefits of physical activity were more than physical, and encompassed all four aspects of wellbeing described by Te Whare Tapa Whā. Their lived experiences confirm that physical activity and exercise provide opportunities for participants to gain peer and psychological support.