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King Charles’s morning routine includes Canadian air force exercise plan

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While King Charles’s health has been in the spotlight in recent days after his cancer diagnosis, the 75-year-old monarch has long been hailed by those around him as a fitness fan.

His wife, Queen Camilla, has likened him to a mountain goat because of his love of walking, while it has also been reported that Charles performs an 11-minute Royal Canadian Air Force exercise plan, known as the 5BX.

Now, experts have said such a routine could stand him in good stead.

Less widely known than some celebrity-promoted schemes, the 5BX approach focuses on basic exercises.

“The scheme is not dependent on elaborate facilities or equipment. The exercises require only 11 minutes a day and can be done in your bedroom or beside your bed in the barracks,” the booklet for the plan reads.

The five recommended exercises include bending forwards to touch the floor before straightening, push-ups, and bouts of running on the spot interspersed with scissor jumps.

Prof Gavin Sandercock of the school of sport, rehabilitation and exercise science at the University of Essex said the 5BX exercise routine had benefits.

“It’s a good mix of stamina-building (aerobic) and muscle-building (resistance) exercises. This fits well within the UK national guidelines on physical activity for health in adults,” he said.

Sandercock added the routine was also consistent with the recommendations for exercise during treatment for, and recovery from, cancer, adding that with the side-effects for some cancer treatments resulting in weight loss, exercises that helped increase or maintain muscle mass were highly beneficial.

However, Sandercock said the many types of cancer and range of treatments that exist meant people with cancer should check with a health professional about the best exercise for them.

“If appropriate, people being treated or recovering from cancer should be given the opportunity to exercise under the supervision of a qualified exercise professional,” he said.

Prof Robert Copeland, the director of the Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University, added the simplicity of the 5BX programme made it an attractive option.

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“There is little published evidence on its efficacy but similar programmes have demonstrated improvements in cardiorespiratory health,” he said.

Lawrence Young, a virologist and professor of molecular oncology at Warwick Medical School, said physical activity in general could help to reduce anxiety and fatigue associated with a cancer diagnosis and cancer therapy, but also stressed individual circumstances must be considered.

“Many studies show that staying physically active improves symptoms and side effects in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy,” he said. “There is also a suggestion that exercise can increase the effectiveness of cancer therapy by improving blood flow and boosting the immune system.”

Copeland agreed. “There is perhaps a perception that people should stop exercising if they are diagnosed with a disease such as cancer, but the evidence tells us the opposite,” he said.

One benefit, he added, was that engaging in physical activity could be empowering for patients, restoring a sense of control and helping them to feel as if they are positively contributing to their cancer treatment.

Copeland added: “I think the key message here is that remaining physically active is a key part of cancer prevention and treatment and that His Majesty is to be encouraged in this. It’s a good thing to do.”

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