Exercise can improve the health of cancer patients who have completed their main cancer-related treatment, according to a new study from the University of Hong Kong.
Researchers examined 34 trials that determined the effects of exercise among adult cancer patients. Each study consisted an average of 93 patients suffering from breast, lung, gastric, colorectal, gynaecologic, or prostate cancer.
Various forms of physical activity were used in the study, including aerobics, resistance and strength training. Participants were 55 years of age on average, and exercised for a 13 week time period.
Those subjects who had breast cancer and participated in physical activity, showed health improvements in blood sugar control, BMI (body mass index), and body weight. They also showed more strength in some of their physical functions, like oxygen consumption and hand-grip strength. In addition, the patients overall quality of life was heightened and they also showed less amounts of mental depression.
It was also revealed that the type of exercise made an important difference on the health benefits of the patients. Those with breast cancer discovered that aerobic exercise in addition to resistance training was substantially more effective on physical fitness, emotional fitness, and overall well-being.
“Quality of life was a clear significant benefit of physical activity and that clinically, there were important positive effects on physical functions and quality of life,” the study authors said in a statement.
Results of the study are published in the British Medical Journal.