Background: Aerobic exercise training has been shown to have beneficial effects on quality of life (QOL) in breast cancer survivors. However, the effects of weight training on psychological benefits are unknown. We sought to examine the effects of weight training on changes in QOL and depressive symptoms in recent breast cancer survivors.
Methods: A convenience sample of 86 survivors (4-36 months posttreatment) was randomized into treatment and control groups. The primary outcomes were changes in QOL (CARES short form) and depressive symptoms (CES-D) between baseline and month 6 in this randomized controlled trial.
Results: Over 6 months the physical global QOL score improved in the treatment group compared with the control group (Standardized Difference = 0.62, P = .006). The psychosocial global score also improved significantly in the treatment group compared with the control group (Standardized Difference = 0.52, P = .02). There were no changes in CES-D scores. Increases in upper body strength were correlated with improvements in physical global score (r = 0.32; P <.01) and psychosocial global score (r = 0.30; P <.01). Increases in lean mass were also correlated with improvements in physical global score (r = 0.23; P <.05) and psychosocial global score (r = 0.24; P <.05).
Conclusion: Twice-weekly weight training for recent breast cancer survivors may result in improved QOL, in part via changes in body composition and strength.