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Breast Cancer Survivors Benefit From Strength Training

Training reduces the negative side effects of treatments.

Breast cancer survivor doing strength training

Women who undergo chemotherapy for breast cancer often experience negative side effects that greatly impact mental and physical well-being, reducing life quality. Researchers wanted to find out how exercise may help breast cancer survivors manage these side effects. Loughborough University researchers in Loughborough, England, evaluated the benefits of endurance, resistance, or combined endurance and resistance training to improve the ability of breast cancer patients to cope with these treatments. A review of 18 studies with 1,830 patients showed that combined training improved cardiovascular fitness, depression, muscular strength and endurance, quality of life, and social functioning.

Interestingly, endurance training alone improved side effects but slightly decreased muscular strength. Resistance training alone provided the most benefits for breast cancer patients undergoing therapeutic treatments. Study authors note that by reducing negative side effects, these programs can enhance adherence to cancer treatments and improve their effectiveness.

The study is published in Nature Scientific Reports (2022; 12 [3504]).

See also: Breast Cancer Survivors and Group Exercise

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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