Posted on Jul 03, 2019, 10 p.m.
Exercise is known to help improve anxiety and mood problems in younger cancer patients, but few studies have looked at the effects of exercise and older cancer patients, even though most new cancer cases occur in adults aged 60 plus.
Cancer increases the chances of people experiencing anxiety and mood issues, which can affect emotional and social well being, this may lead people to discontinue treatments that can mean shortening their survival.
Older patients often experience higher rates of dangerous side effects from chemotherapy than younger people, that being said it can still benefit older patients. Often older cancer patients will experience anxiety and other mood disorders during treatment, but treating these problems with medications can potentially cause dangerous side effects.
As published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the researchers examined the EXCAP program which is a home based aerobic exercise program in which patients were also assigned an exercise kit containing an instruction manual, a pedometer, and 3 exercise bands of different strengths.
The programs are individually tailored to progressively increase participant length and intensity of workouts over time, such as gradually increase steps by 5-20% every week while wearing the pedometer to record their steps for 6 weeks. Participants were encouraged to perform 10 required exercises daily with an optional 4 additional exercises; and they were encouraged to increase the intensity and number of repetitions of resistance band exercises they were doing gradually over the course of the program.
Based on their findings low to moderate intensity home based exercises improved mood and anxiety as well as social and emotional well being for the older cancer patients that had received chemotherapy treatments.
Older adults who received chemotherapy that started off the program with higher levels of anxiety, unhappy moods, and lower levels of social and emotional well being were found to have benefited most from the exercise program, according to the researchers.
Materials provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
This article is not intended to provide medical diagnosis, advice, treatment, or endorsement.