Exercise improves anxiety, mood in elderly cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy

Recently, scientists have found that exercise not only improves anxiety and mood problems in younger cancer patients but also in older adult patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. The study was published in the ‘Journal of American Geriatrics Society’.

Cancer increases the chances of people experiencing anxiety and mood issues which can affect emotional and social well-being. In turn, this may lead people to discontinue cancer treatments which can mean shortening their survival.

Older adults often experience anxiety and other mood disorders during their treatment for cancer, and treating those problems with medications can often cause potentially dangerous side effects. The researchers examined the Exercise for Cancer Patients (EXCAP) programme, a home-based, low to moderate intensity aerobic and resistance exercise programme.

During the programme, participants increased the length and intensity of their workouts over time. For example, participants received an individually tailored, progressive walking routine and they wore a pedometer and recorded their daily steps over six weeks. Participants were also encouraged to increase the intensity and number of repetitions of resistance band exercises gradually over the course of the programme. Researchers noted that in the study, the people who benefited the most from the exercise program were older adults who received chemotherapy and started off with worse anxiety, mood and social and emotional well-being.