Reduce Treatment Fatigue with Aerobic Exercise

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Mild to moderate aerobic exercise may help to alleviate fatigue caused by radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments.

Fatigue is a major side effect of cancer treatments that negatively impacts cancer patients' lives. A new study found that women undergoing radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer can reduce their fatigue by partaking in aerobic exercises. 

The study
The study, published in the January 2015 issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing, included 58 Taiwanese women who were undergoing radiotherapy treatment for breast cancer. The group was split in two. The first 28 women participated in a six-week aerobic exercise program during their therapy. The other 30 women received regular care and were not asked to add exercise to their routines. 

Participants completed the Taiwanese version of the Brief Fatigue Inventory, a four-question survey that asks participants to rate their levels of fatigue normally, at the moment of filling out the survey, their worst fatigue in the last 24 hours and how it interfered with their life. The answers served as the measurement researchers used to compare the two patient groups.

The results
The Brief Fatigue Inventory results showed that the group of women who partook in the exercise program were less fatigued than the women who were not exercising. The researchers involved hope that breast cancer patients are offered a course of aerobic exercise intervention to help alleviate the fatigue associated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Aerobic exercise
The women in the study's exercising group performed mild to moderate walking and jogging on a treadmill to raise their heart rates a maximum of 40-65 percent. The patients worked out as such for 20-30 minutes a week, three times a week over the course of six weeks.

You do not have to train for a marathon to gain the benefits of exercise when undergoing treatment. Simple mild exercise that raises your heart rate, like walking quickly or jogging, may be enough to help alleviate fatigue that is caused by radiotherapy or chemotherapy. 

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