Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 189–199

The effect of resistance training on muscle strength and physical function in older, postmenopausal breast cancer survivors: a randomized controlled trial

  • Kerri M. Winters-Stone
  • Jessica Dobek
  • Jill A. Bennett
  • Lillian M. Nail
  • Michael C. Leo
  • Anna Schwartz
Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11764-011-0210-x

Cite this article as:
Winters-Stone, K.M., Dobek, J., Bennett, J.A. et al. J Cancer Surviv (2012) 6: 189. doi:10.1007/s11764-011-0210-x

Abstract

Introduction

Older breast cancer survivors (BCS) report more falls and functional limitations than women with no cancer history. Exercise training could reduce risk factors for future falls and disability.

Methods

We conducted a randomized, controlled trial in 106 early-stage, postmenopausal BCS who were ≥50 years old at diagnosis and post-treatment. Women were randomly assigned to a 1-year resistance + impact exercise program or a stretching placebo program. Endpoints were one repetition maximum bench press and leg press strength, timed five chair stands, 4 m usual walk speed, timed stance tests, handgrip strength, self-report physical function, and fatigue. We also examined the influence of age, adjuvant hormone therapy use, and exercise adherence on study outcomes.

Results

Women in the resistance + impact training program significantly improved maximal leg (p <0 .02) and bench (p <0 .02) press strength compared to the stretching group. Women who attended 50% or more of prescribed resistance training sessions had significantly better changes in maximal strength measures compared to less adherent women.

Conclusions

Resistance + impact exercise is superior to stretching at improving maximal muscle strength and exercise adherence contributes to the degree of improvement.

Implications for cancer survivors

Older BCS can safely engage in resistance exercise that improves lower and upper body strength, thereby reducing a risk factor for falls and future disability. However, the ability of resistance training to shift other indices of fall and disability risk, i.e., balance and function, is unclear. Strategies to promote adherence to resistance training could lead to greater improvements in strength.

Keywords

Neoplasm Muscle strength Aged Balance Fatigue Adherence 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerri M. Winters-Stone
    • 1
  • Jessica Dobek
    • 1
  • Jill A. Bennett
    • 1
  • Lillian M. Nail
    • 1
  • Michael C. Leo
    • 1
  • Anna Schwartz
    • 2
  1. 1.School of NursingOregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Idaho State UniversityPocatelloUSA

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