Many studies demonstrate the value of exercise in everyday life, but exercise during breast cancer therapy may make a difference too.
Studies published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggest that physical activity positively affects patients’ self esteem, body conditioning and ability to complete chemotherapy treatments. This helps patients endure and benefit more from their therapies.
One third of the women in the study did resistance training exercises, one third did aerobic workouts, and one third of the women did not exercise above their normal daily activity level. Both the exercise groups were able to stick to their chemotherapy treatments better than the non-exercising women. In addition, those who exercised reported improvements in their self-esteem.
Exercise, while offering significant benefits, did not counter all quality of life issues for the breast cancer patients. The study reported that exercise made little difference in fatigue level, depression or anxiety—additional quality of life issues for women undergoing chemotherapy.
Scientists in other studies suggest that the timing of exercise may be important. Physical activity after chemotherapy, rather than during treatment, appeared to have a strong positive effect on the quality of life issues in breast cancer patients.
"Talk to your doctor about how much and how often to exercise," recommends breastcancer.org. "Find the right exercise routine for you and then do your best to stick to it."
Courneya, KS et al, 2007. "Effects of Aerobic and Resistance Exercise in Breast Cancer Chemotherapy: A Mutlicenter Randomized Controlled Trial" Jour Clin Oncology
Vallance, J et al, 2007. "Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Print Materials and Step Pedometers in Physical Activity and Quality of Life in Breast Cancer Survivors" Jour Clin Oncology
breastcancer.org, 2007. "Exercise Can Ease Some Aspects of Chemotherapy," comments from breastcancer.org.
Demark-Wahnefried, W., 2007. "Move Onward, Press Forward, and Take a Deep Breath: Can Lifestyle Interventions Improve the Quality of Life of Women With Breast Cancer, and How Can We Be Sure?" Jour Clin Oncology
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