Penny Sanderson, Chris Ford and EP, Kirsty McRae

New 'Wellness Gym' giving cancer patients back their hop, skip and jump

"Sometime I don’t want to come, but always feel better afterwards!"

That's how ONJ Centre patient, Chris Ford, describes his visits to the new Wellness Gym at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Wellness and Research Centre.

The gym is a Victorian-first and has been designed exclusively for the use of outpatients receiving cancer treatment at the ONJ Centre. The Gym is expecting to help more than 300 patient a year on their cancer journey.

Chris spoke at today's launch of the Gym, which is expected to help more than 300 patients a year on their cancer journey.

"I needed to do something to help how I felt inside after going through cancer treatment," Chris said.

"Exercising twice a week is making me feel better and the Gym gives me the chance to talk with other people who are also being treated and build that camaraderie that comes from having a shared experience."

ONJ Centre Exercise Physiologist, Lachlan Terry, said research shows that exercise can reduce the number and severity of side effects experienced from cancer treatments.

"We know that exercise can help patients undergoing treatment for cancer but we also know that 60-70% of patients receiving treatment don't exercise regularly for a range of reasons," Lachlan said.

"People who are more physically active have lower recurrence rates, reduced metastatic rates and a higher chance of winning over cancer. Exercise is just as important for survivors who are getting on with their lives after cancer treatment.

"Patients receive tailored exercise programs to meet their personal needs and goals, which could include resistance training, aerobic exercise, balance, mobility and functional exercises," he said.

Acting Austin Health CEO, Shelley Castree-Croad, said support from the community has played a major role in the Wellness Gym being set up.

"We are very proud to have this new gym available to our patients," Ms Castree-Croad said.

"Organisations like Dry July have made enormous contribution to Wellness Programs at the ONJ Centre and have helped us set up the new gym as well as supporting other program yoga, massage, art and music therapy.

"The community and a number of other generous donors who are friends of both Olivia and the ONJ Centre including the team from VIP Fitness who took part in last year's Melbourne Marathon, have raised funds to enable the gym to come to life," she said.

Chris Ford says the results have been life changing.

"Exercising in the gym has changed the way I view my cancer and changed the way I view my life," he said.

"One piece of advice Lachlan gave me was 'Don’t make cancer your life, make cancer part of your life' and that's what I'm busy doing!"

The new Wellness Gym is located on Level 5 of the ONJ Centre.