Higher-Intensity Exercise Results in More Sustainable Improvements for VO2peak for Breast and Prostate Cancer Survivors

Eric A. Martin

Claudio Battaglini

Beth Hands

Fiona Naumann

exercise oncology, cardiorespiratory exercise test, aerobic exercise, breast neoplasms, prostate neoplasms
ONF 2015, 42(3), . DOI: 10.1188/15.ONF.42-03AP

Purpose/Objectives: To examine peak volume of oxygen consumption (VO2peak) changes after a high- or low-intensity exercise intervention.

Design: Experimental trial comparing two randomized intervention groups with control.

Setting: An exercise clinic at a university in Australia.

Sample: 87 prostate cancer survivors (aged 47–80 years) and 72 breast cancer survivors (aged 34–76 years).

Methods: Participants enrolled in an eight-week exercise intervention (n = 84) or control (n = 75) group. Intervention participants were randomized to low-intensity (n = 44, 60%–65% VO2peak, 50%–65% of one repetition maximum [1RM]) or high-intensity (n = 40, 75%–80% VO2peak, 65%–80% 1RM) exercise groups. Participants in the control group continued usual routines. All participants were assessed at weeks 1 and 10. The intervention groups were reassessed four months postintervention for sustainability.

Main Research Variables: VO2peak and self-reported physical activity.

Findings: Intervention groups improved VO2peak similarly (p = 0.083), and both more than controls (p < 0.001). The high-intensity group maintained VO2peak at follow-up, whereas the low-intensity group regressed (p = 0.021). The low-intensity group minimally changed from baseline to follow-up by 0.5 ml/kg per minute, whereas the high-intensity group significantly improved by 2.2 ml/kg per minute (p = 0.01). Intervention groups always reported similar physical activity levels.

Conclusions: Higher-intensity exercise provided more sustainable cardiorespiratory benefits than lower-intensity exercise.

Implications for Nursing: Survivors need guidance on exercise intensity, because a high volume of low-intensity exercise may not provide sustained health benefits.

Members Only
Not a current ONS member or journal subscriber?

Purchase This Article

Receive a PDF to download and print.