An aerobic weight-loaded pilot exercise intervention for breast cancer survivors: bone remodeling and body composition outcomes

Biol Res Nurs. 2008 Jul;10(1):34-43. doi: 10.1177/1099800408320579.


Objective: Weight gain and bone loss are commonly reported in breast cancer survivors. The purpose of this pilot study is to assess feasibility and explore the effect of an aerobic weight-loaded exercise intervention on bone remodeling, weight, and body composition.

Design: A one-group pre-posttest design was used to test a 16-24-week supervised walking exercise intervention among women within 2 years of menopause. Through Weeks 1-4, time and weight were progressively increased. By Week 5 and through the end of the intervention, a waist belt was loaded with 5 lb and participants spent 45 min on the treadmill 3 times/week. Bone remodeling was measured by serum biomarkers (N-terminal propeptides of type I collagen [NTX] and serum osteocalcin). Dual-energy absorptiometry scans assessed body composition. Data were collected at baseline and 16 and 24 weeks.

Results: The majority of the 26 participants were married, well educated, and employed, with a mean age of 51.3 years (SD = 6.2). The high adherence (M = 88.2%, SD = 6.8) demonstrated feasibility. There were no significant changes in serum osteocalcin (p = .67), serum NTX (p = .31), lean muscle mass (p = .08), or percent fat mass for the group as a whole (p = .14), but fat mass increased for women on adjuvant endocrine therapy (p = .04). The women maintained their weight.

Conclusions: This novel exercise intervention for breast cancer survivors was feasible, and women otherwise at high risk for weight gain and bone loss maintained their weight and bone mass.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Bone Resorption / blood
  • Bone Resorption / diagnosis
  • Bone Resorption / etiology
  • Bone Resorption / prevention & control*
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications*
  • Clinical Nursing Research
  • Collagen Type I / blood
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Osteocalcin / blood
  • Perimenopause
  • Pilot Projects
  • Survivors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Lifting* / physiology


  • Collagen Type I
  • Osteocalcin