"Other studies have found that yoga is associated with improved mood and overall quality of life in patients with cancer," she said. "Our study is the first to examine yoga with an ethnically diverse population, the majority of whom were African-American and Hispanic."
Both studies were published online Sept. 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Cheryl Rock, a professor of nutrition at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, said the new research makes sense. "The biggest problem is convincing people to ignore that voice that says, 'I am too tired to exercise.'"
"It's very counter-intuitive," she said of the findings. "There is a huge amount of medical literature on the general population linking exercise with improved mood," she said. And exercise can especially help cancer patients going through chemotherapy. "Chemo is not only physically stressful but psychologically stressful," she said.
Cancer patients considering exercise should talk to their doctor first, she said.
To learn more about exercise during cancer treatment, visit the American Cancer Society.
SOURCES: Kerry Courneya, Ph.D., professor and Canada research chair in physical activity and cancer, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada; Alyson Moadel, Ph.D., assistant professor of epidemiology and population health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York City; Cheryl Rock, Ph.D., R.D., professor of nutrition, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine; Sept. 4, 2007, Journal of Clinical Oncology, online
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