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Depression and Physical Activity

Posted 2/1/2014

Posted in

  From the title, you know what is coming here. Yup, another study indicates that breast cancer survivors who exercise and/or are physically active have less depression than others. It can be "depressing" just to think about the need to exercise, especially on cold, dark mornings. As many of you know, I get to the gym almost every morning and my imperfect but mostly effective system is this: the alarm goes off, I put on my exercise clothes, let the dog out and back in again, go to the gym. The secret for me is not stopping to think about it.

  We must each figure out what works for us. I am most admiring of women who can exercise at the end of the day; by evening, all I want to do is go home. Others manage walks at some point during the day. Some women participate in exercise classes or team sports or a range of activities that might even be fun. For me, it is never fun, but I know it is good for me.

  Here are some of the reasons you should be getting regular exercise: multiple studies have suggested that regular moderate exercise reduces the recurrence rate; exercise helps with weight control; exercise is good for our hearts and cardiovascular systems--and now another reminder that it is good for our mood. Lace up those sneakers.

Depressed mood in breast cancer survivors: Associations with physical activity, cancer-related fatigue, quality of life, and fitness level 

Noelia Galiano-Castillo a, Angelica Ariza-García a,b, Irene Cantarero-Villanueva a,
Carolina Fernández-Lao a, Lourdes Díaz-Rodríguez c, Manuel Arroyo-Morales a,*

a b s t r a c t
Purpose: One out of five cancer survivors suffer from depression after oncology treatment. The aim of
this study was to examine the relationship between depression and quality of life (QoL), cancer-related
symptoms, physical activity level, health-related fitness, and salivary flow rate in breast cancer survivors.
Method: 108 breast cancer survivors in the year after the conclusion of treatment were included in this
cross-sectional study. Demographic and clinically relevant information, cancer-related fatigue (Piper
Fatigue Scale), QoL (QLQ-Br23 module), pain intensity VAS scale, salivary flow rate, physical activity level
(Minnesota Leisure Time Physical Activity Questionnaire), and health-related fitness were assessed in all
participants. Depressed mood was measured with the Profile of Mood States (POMS) Depression
Results: Significant positive correlations between depressed mood and fatigue, systemic side effects,
perceived shoulder pain, and breast-arms symptoms (r ranged between .57 and .28, P <.01) were found.
In addition, significant negative correlations between depressed mood and body image, future
perspective, force handgrip, and physical activity level (r ranged between !.41 and !.19; p < .05) were
found. Regression analyses revealed that cancer-related fatigue, physical activity level, systemic side
effects, and body image were significant predictors of depressed mood, and when combined, they
explained 39.6% of the variance in depressed mood.
Conclusions: Cancer-related fatigue, physical activity level, and QoL partially explain the variability of
depressed mood in breast cancer survivors. This paper facilitates a better understanding of the relationship
between depressed mood and possible factors associated with it.


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