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Jun 26

Resistance Training Benefits Cancer Patients; from the American College of Sports Medicine


December 06, 2013


Resistance training can provide functional benefits and improvements in overall health and well being in cancer patients, according to a meta-analysis of existing studies. Researchers looked at eleven studies to study the effects of resistance training on muscle function, body composition, and fatigue during and after treatment.


Cancer treatments can lead to muscle wasting or atrophy, reduced physical functioning, unfavorable changes in body composition, and depression, among other side effects. The loss of muscle strength can be compounded by other side effects, such as loss of appetite, resulting in increased levels of fatigue. Lack of aerobic activity combined with muscle loss can lead to reduced ability to perform normal daily functions. This can also severely impact quality of life, and contribute to increased mortality rates. 


In reviewing existing studies, researchers found that resistance training lead to statistically important improvements in muscular function and body composition during and after cancer treatment. No adverse effects were seen. The authors caution that further study is needed to determine optimal levels of exercise frequency and intensity. 


The results of this meta-analysis were published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.