Stand Up Paddle Research

Evaluation of the pilot PaddleOn cancer rehabilitation programme: Report to the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation

The increasing amount of research literature associating exercise with increased wellbeing and decreased morbidity and mortality after cancer supports the need for further development of targeted exercise programmes. This evaluation presents data gathered from a pilot standup paddleboarding programme developed to meet the needs for breast cancer patients following their initial surgery and treatment. Particiants were screened prior to enrolment to ensure that they were well and strong enough, the adequate balance. Those still receiving adjuvant therapy were able to apply.

Overall, the participants reported improvement in a range of quality of life measures including those related to fatigue, mood and memory, and improvements in body and general confidence, strength and balance. The percentage of women reporting their overall health and quality of life in the previous week to be 'Excellent' approximately doubled between the start and finish of the PaddleOn Programme. Skill development relating specifically to paddleboarding was rated positively, as was the actual experience of learning something new. An overall increase in exercise and decrease in body weight was also reported. The overwhelming positive response included comments such as being more interested in getting fit, wanting to continue paddleboarding and the desire to recommend PaddleOn to friends who had experienced breast cancer. Feedback from participants was particularly positive with respect to learning new skills from very good teachers, the enjoyment of being out on the water and how relaxing that was, and the support derived from learning in a group of women who had also experienced breast cancer.