The mean age of the group was 67. The men had a wide range of fitness levels, from frailty to golfers who were fit and active. A control group that did no exercise was also established.
Researchers measured cardiopulmonary function (through a gold-standard test called Vo2-peak) and muscular strength, and found that all exercisers improved while the control group declined in performance. The most significant information, Mustian said, was that everyone who exercised regularly achieved some added benefit even the fittest participants.
A larger study is planned to explore whether the physiological effects of exercise are responsible for improvements, or if a psychological component is also present, such as the personal attention one often gains from an exercise program, or the camaraderie of being with friends at a gym.
Sprod investigated the appropriate amount, type, and intensity of exercise in cancer survivors older than 65, who are also experiencing the natural functional declines associated with aging. The double hit, she said, is an understudied issue.
After analyzing a national sample of 14,887 people, Sprod established that older cancer survivors engage in less physical activity even routine activity such as stooping, lifting, and walking than people without a history of cancer. This may lead to less independence, a higher risk of the cancer coming back, and reduced survival.
The study raises new questions, such as whether the treatment contributes to less activity, or whether patients and physicians are worried about the safety of becoming physically active during and after cancer treatment, or a combination of the two factors, Sprod said.
In another exercise-related study, Luke J. Peppone, Ph.D., a research a
|Contact: Leslie Orr|
University of Rochester Medical Center