Exercise improves anxiety, mood among elderly cancer patients
A structured exercise programme appears to improve anxiety and mood among elderly cancer patients, especially among those with worse baseline symptoms, reports a recent study.
Researchers conducted a secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial, where 252 elderly cancer patients either adhered to a home-based, low-to-moderate intensity training programme (n=130; mean age, 67.7±5.7 years; 92.3 percent female) or received usual care (n=122; mean age, 65.5±4.8 years; 91.0 percent female). Postintervention anxiety, mood, and emotional and social well-being were the study outcomes of interest.
At baseline, none of the participants had regularly engaged in resistance training. After the intervention period, 71 percent (n=92) of the exercise arm reported performing resistance training for a mean duration of 22 minutes, 2.3 days per week. In comparison, only three participants in the control group had engaged in resistance training by the end of study. Aerobic exercise likewise increased in the intervention group and decreased in the control arm.
The change in scores in the State Trait Anxiety Inventory over time was significantly different between the intervention and control arms (p=0.001) despite comparable baseline levels (p=0.276). Notably, this effect was stronger among those with greater anxiety at baseline.
A similar trend was observed for scores in the Profile of Mood States. While scores were comparable between arms at baseline (p=0.471), changes in total POMS scores were significantly different (p=0.022). This remained true even when analysis was restricted to the social and well-being domains (p=0.002 for both).