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Exercise Through Treatment

Posted 3/11/2015

Posted in

  Yes, I do (reluctantly) keep beating this particular drum, but this time it is a slightly different drum. There has been a lot written about the value of exercise post active treatment: people feel better, weight is a little easier to maintain, and the recurrence risk may be reduced. Today's article, however, is about the value of exercising during treatment.

  Full disclosure: I continued to go to the gym most days throughout chemotherapy, but I surely did not work as hard once there as I usually did. I went for social reasons and to maintain my fantasy that life was under control and normal. Wearing a bandana with work out clothes was not so bad; plenty of other people did the same thing for other reasons. And I was extremely proud of myself for getting myself there most mornings.

  The secret, I think, is adjusting your expectations. It is not at all necessary to do the same number of reps with weights or to run for the same length of time on the treadmill. If you are outside, it is not at all necessary to run your usual three miles; think, instead, about walking around the neighborhood. Or even around the block. It turns out that pushing yourself to regularly do some kind of gentle exercise brings big benefits while you are still on treatment. You likely will feel stronger and better and recover more quickly.

  Here is the abstract from a recent study published in The Oncology Nursing Society Forum

The Effectiveness of Exercise Interventions
for Improving Health-Related Quality of Life
From Diagnosis Through Active Cancer Treatment

Shiraz I. Mishra, MBBS, PhD, Roberta W. Scherer, PhD, Claire Snyder, PhD,
Paula Geigle, PT, PhD, and Carolyn Gotay, PhD

Purpose/Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of exercise
interventions on overall health-related quality of life
(HRQOL) and its domains among adults scheduled to, or
actively undergoing, cancer treatment.
Data Sources: 11 electronic databases were searched
through November 2011. In addition, the authors searched
PubMed’s related article feature, trial registries, and reference
lists of included trials and related reviews.
Data Synthesis: 56 trials with 4,826 participants met the
inclusion criteria. At 12 weeks, people exposed to exercise
interventions had greater improvement in overall HRQOL,
physical functioning, role functioning, social functioning,
and fatigue. Improvement in HRQOL was associated with
moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise interventions.
Conclusions: Exercise can be a useful tool for managing
HRQOL and HRQOL domains for people scheduled to, or
actively undergoing, cancer treatment. More methodologically
rigorous trials are needed to examine the attributes of
exercise programs most effective for improving HRQOL.
Implications for Nursing: Evidence from this review supports
the incorporation of exercise programs of moderateto-
vigorous intensity for the management of HRQOL
among people scheduled to, or actively undergoing, cancer
treatment into clinical guidelines

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