Yoga-based exercise has proven to be beneficial for practitioners, including cancer survivors. This study reports on the improvements in physical fitness for 20 breast cancer survivors who participated in a six-month yoga-based exercise program (YE). Results are compared to a comprehensive exercise (CE) program group and a comparison (C) exercise group who chose their own exercises. "Pre" and "post" fitness assessments included measures of anthropometrics, cardiorespiratory capacity, strength and flexibility. Descriptive statistics, effect size (d), dependent sample 't' tests for all outcome measures were calculated for the YE group. Significant improvements included: decreased % body fat (-3.00%, d = -0.44, p < 0.001); increased sit to stand leg strength repetitions (2.05, d = 0.48, p = 0.003); forward reach (3.59 cm, d = 0.61, p = 0.01); and right arm sagittal range of motion (6.50°, d = 0.92, p = 0.05). To compare YE outcomes with the other two groups, a one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used. YE participants significantly outperformed C participants on "forward reach" (3.59 cm gained versus -2.44 cm lost), (p = 0.009) and outperformed CE participants (3.59 cm gained versus 1.35 cm gained), but not statistically significant. Our results support yoga-based exercise modified for breast cancer survivors as safe and effective.
Keywords: Cancer survivors; fitness; yoga.