Full-body exercise training improves fitness and quality of life in survivors of breast cancer

J Strength Cond Res. 2006 Feb;20(1):14-21. doi: 10.1519/R-17335.1.


This study evaluated the safety and effectiveness of an 8-week full-body resistance and aerobic exercise program for 27 survivors of breast cancer (age, 57.7 +/- 7.2 years; years posttreatment, 0.8- 21.0) with prior upper-body conditioning. Physical fitness and quality-of-life (QOL) measures were obtained before and after the training period. Lymphedema, evaluated via arm volume measurement at baseline, was self-monitored throughout the trial. Sum of skinfolds, waist girth, and hip girth were significantly reduced posttraining (p < 0.01), although body weight did not change. Significant improvements (p < 0.01) were observed in upper-body strength (35.6 +/- 16.4%) and endurance (167.4 +/- 55.4%), lower-body strength (50.7 +/- 32.3%) and endurance (273.1 +/- 120.7%), Vo(2peak), trunk flexibility, and flexibility of the ipsilateral (surgical) and contralateral shoulder joint. Psychological QOL and overall QOL, evaluated via the World Health Organization Quality of Life Assessment Scale-Abbreviated Version. Inventory also improved significantly (p < 0.01). No incidents of lymphedema or injury were reported. These findings suggest that survivors of breast cancer can safely benefit from engaging in a full-body exercise regimen.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Physical Endurance / physiology
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Survivors*
  • Waist-Hip Ratio