Journal of Cancer Survivorship

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 633–644 | Cite as

Benefits of partnered strength training for prostate cancer survivors and spouses: results from a randomized controlled trial of the Exercising Together project

  • Kerri M. Winters-StoneEmail author
  • Karen S. Lyons
  • Jessica Dobek
  • Nathan F. Dieckmann
  • Jill A. Bennett
  • Lillian Nail
  • Tomasz M. Beer



Prostate cancer can negatively impact quality of life of the patient and his spouse caregiver, but interventions rarely target the health of both partners simultaneously. We tested the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a partnered strength training program on the physical and mental health of prostate cancer survivors (PCS) and spouse caregivers.


Sixty-four couples were randomly assigned to 6 months of partnered strength training (Exercising Together, N = 32) or usual care (UC, N = 32). Objective measures included body composition (lean, fat and trunk fat mass (kg), and % body fat) by DXA, upper and lower body muscle strength by 1-repetition maximum, and physical function by the physical performance battery (PPB). Self-reported measures included the physical and mental health summary scales and physical function and fatigue subscales of the SF-36 and physical activity with the CHAMPS questionnaire.


Couple retention rates were 100 % for Exercising Together and 84 % for UC. Median attendance of couples to Exercising Together sessions was 75 %. Men in Exercising Together became stronger in the upper body (p < 0.01) and more physically active (p < 0.01) than UC. Women in Exercising Together increased muscle mass (p = 0.05) and improved upper (p < 0.01) and lower body (p < 0.01) strength and PPB scores (p = 0.01) more than UC.


Exercising Together is a novel couples-based approach to exercise that was feasible and improved several health outcomes for both PCS and their spouses.

Implications for cancer survivors

A couples-based approach should be considered in cancer survivorship programs so that outcomes can mutually benefit both partners.

Trial registration NCT00954044


Physical activity Dyads Neoplasms Caregiver Physical functioning 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts to report.

Funding source

This study was funded by the National Institutes of Health 1R21 CA137272.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kerri M. Winters-Stone
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Karen S. Lyons
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jessica Dobek
    • 2
  • Nathan F. Dieckmann
    • 2
  • Jill A. Bennett
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lillian Nail
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tomasz M. Beer
    • 1
  1. 1.Knight Cancer InstituteOregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.School of NursingOregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA

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