Annals of Hematology

, Volume 92, Issue 8, pp 1007–1021

Physical activity, physical fitness and the effect of exercise training interventions in lymphoma patients: a systematic review

  • Nele Vermaete
  • Pascal Wolter
  • Gregor Verhoef
  • Rik Gosselink
Review Article


Fatigue is one of the most common and most distressing problems in lymphoma patients. A vicious circle is presumed between fatigue, physical activity and physical fitness. It is plausible that an exercise training program would be effective in reducing fatigue, by breaking this vicious circle. The purposes of this review are to provide an overview of the literature on physical activity and physical fitness in lymphoma patients before, during and after anticancer treatment, and to summarise the literature on exercise training interventions in lymphoma patients. We conducted a search for studies reporting on physical activity, physical fitness or the effect of exercise training in lymphoma patients. A total of 13 articles were selected. Due to a small number of articles and methodological issues, it was not possible to make final conclusions. The results indicated that 21 % to 29 % of lymphoma survivors meet the American College of Sports Medicine public health guidelines for physical activity. Maximal exercise capacity was decreased before treatment, especially in patients with advanced disease, and was close to normal during and/or after treatment. Lower levels of physical activity as well as lower physical fitness seemed to be associated with more symptoms of fatigue. Aerobic exercise training interventions seemed to be feasible and safe and had positive effects on cardiorespiratory fitness, fatigue and self-reported physical functioning. Further research is needed to examine physical activity and physical fitness in a longitudinal, objective way in large samples and to examine the effect of exercise training in lymphoma patients.


Lymphoma Physical activity Physical fitness Exercise Cancer-related fatigue 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nele Vermaete
    • 1
  • Pascal Wolter
    • 2
  • Gregor Verhoef
    • 3
  • Rik Gosselink
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation SciencesUniversity LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of General Medical OncologyUniversity Hospitals LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  3. 3.Department of HaematologyLeuven Cancer InstituteLeuvenBelgium

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