Triathlon Training for Women Breast Cancer Survivors: Feasibility and Initial Efficacy
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Supportive Care in Cancer
Exercise can improve quality of life (QOL) in breast cancer survivors. In contrast to many group or home-based exercise programs, little is known about the effectiveness of goal-oriented recreational activities.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate a clinically overseen team triathlon training program on improving physiological and psychosocial health-related measures in female breast cancer survivors.
Twenty-three participants (age = 48 (8), BMI = 25 (1), mean (SE)) were recruited from a 14-week sprint triathlon (800-m swim, 20-km bike, 5-km run) team training program for women breast cancer survivors (4 (3) years post-surgery, chemo-, or radiation-therapy). Training included two supervised group and three home-based individual sessions per week. Pre- and post-training outcomes included isokinetic knee extensor strength (60, 180, and 300° s−1), 6-min walk test (6MWT), maximal oxygen uptake (VO2 max), QOL (Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy -Breast (FACT-B)), and barriers to exercise. Outcomes were also obtained 6 months post except for VO2 max. Significance was set at p < 0.05.
Data are mean (SD) from 21 complete data sets. Knee extensor peak torque significantly improved only at 300° s−1 (pre 40.3(8.5) ftlb; post 45.2(8.4); p = 0.001). 6MWT significantly improved (pre 632.8(62.1) m; post 657.4(53.2); p = 0.014) as did VO2 max (pre 31.3(5.8) ml kg−1 min−1; post 35.9(5.8); p < 0.001). FACT-B also improved (pre 114(12); post 122(13); p = 0.004), including the FACT-G total score, social well-being, and breast cancer subscales while barriers to exercise decreased (pre 54(12); post 36(9); p < 0.001). Strength, 6MWT, and barriers to exercise remained improved after 6 months.
Team triathlon training in breast cancer survivors can increase aerobic capacity and improve QOL which may contribute to healthier lifestyles in breast cancer survivors.