Document Type




Format of Original

10 p.

Publication Date




Source Publication

Environmental Toxicology

Source ISSN


Original Item ID

doi: 10.1111/jocn.13067; PubMed Central, PMID: 26769212


Aims and Objectives

To examine motivational factors influencing breast cancer survivors to participate in triathlon training, complete a triathlon and maintain an exercise thereafter.


Routine exercise has been shown to improve quality of life and reduce recurrence for breast cancer survivors. Yet physical and psychological factors present barriers for initiating and maintaining an exercise routine. Research is limited in exploring factors of exercise motivation from the survivor's perspective.


Qualitative design using focus groups and individual follow-up phone interviews to explore motivation for exercise initiation and maintenance.


One to two weeks after completing a triathlon, 11 breast cancer survivors who trained together participated in one of three focus groups to discuss their experience. Five months post triathlon 6 of the 11 participants were successfully contacted and phone interviews were conducted to explore exercise maintenance. Focus groups and interviews were analysed using content and thematic analysis.


Five themes emerged (1) Champion for Exercise, (2) Part of a Team, (3) Everyone Had a Story, (4) Not Really Exercise and (5) What Do We Do Now? Overall, survivors recognised their need for lifestyle change (e.g. moving from a sedentary lifestyle to a more active one). More importantly, they identified the team approach to exercise initiation was crucial in their success in sustaining a behavioural change.


Emphasis needed on developing team exercise training programmes for survivors. Nurses can play a critical role in discussing with survivors, the benefits of exercise initiation and maintenance.

Relevance to clinical practice

Breast cancer survivors are hesitant to initiate routine exercise. Training with women who share a common lived experience increases the likelihood of success. Nurses are in a position to encourage breast cancer survivors to participate in group exercise programmes as a way to improve quality of life.


Accepted version. Environmental Toxicology, Vol. 25, No. 1-2 (January 2016): 247–256. DOI. © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Used with permission.