Effects of combined exercise on psychological and physiological variables in cancer patients: A pilot study.

Stefania Cataldi, Alessandra Amato, Giuseppe Messina, Angelo Iovane, Giampiero Greco, Attilio Guarini, Proia Patrizia, Francesco Fischetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of a short-term combined exercise intervention program on perceived self-efficacy, fatigue, lower back flexibility, balance and task specific functional mobility in cancer patients. Materials and Methods: Fifteen patients met all the eligibility criteria and were assigned to a single training group (range age, 22-75 years) that performed an 8-week intervention program (∼60min, 2dwk-1). Each session included a progressive training of cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility and postural education exercises. Measures pre-intervention and post-intervention included psychological and physiological measurements. Adherence to training was high (92.3±5.2%) and no major health problem were noted in the participants over the 8-week period. Results: Measures of fatigue have significantly decreased (p<0.001; -27.7%) and perceived capability to regulate negative affect (p<0.001; +18.2%) and to express positive emotions (p = 0.003; +11.8%) improved between the pre and post-study measurements. Highly significant increases were observed in the trunk lateral flexibility test (L: P<0.001; -13.2%; R: P<0.001; -12.8%), stork balance stand test (L: P<0.001, +30.1%; R: P<0.001, +66.7%), and in the number of standing up and sitting down from a chair within 30 seconds (p<0.001; +20.4%). Conclusion: Results suggest that a short-term combined exercise program may improve the physical fitness, functional capacity, capability to manage emotional life and reduce levels of perceived fatigue in cancer patients providing an important support to deal the physiological and psychological side effects. Specialists in Adapted Physical Education need to be involved in the biomedical staff because they are the only ones able to manipulate the training variables for the health and well-being benefit of the special populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1105-1113
Number of pages9
JournalActa Medica Mediterranea
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Cancer-related fatigue
  • Functional capacity
  • Physical fitness
  • Self-efficacy
  • Special population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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