Effects of physical exercise intervention on psychological and physical fitness in lymphoma patients

Francesco Fischetti, Gianpiero Greco, Stefania Cataldi, Carla Minoia, Giacomo Loseto, Attilio Guarini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and objectives: Lymphoma patients experience a psychological and physiological decline that could be reversed by exercise. However, little is known about the effects of the exercise on psychological and physical fitness variables. Therefore, the purpose of this longitudinal study was to assess self-efficacy, fatigue and physical fitness before and after an eight-week exercise intervention. Materials and Methods: Thirty-six participants (54.4 ± 19.1 years) performed a supervised exercise program (~60 min, 2d·wk−1). Each session included a combined progressive training of cardiorespiratory, resistance, flexibility and postural education exercises. Self-efficacy and fatigue were measured with the Regulatory Emotional Self-Efficacy scale and 0–10 rating scale, respectively. Physical fitness was assessed with the body mass index, lower back flexibility, static balance, muscle strength and functional mobility. Results: Adherence to exercise was high (91.2% ± 4.8%) and no major health problems were noted in the patients over the intervention period. At baseline, significant differences were found between Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma patients by age and all dependent measures (p < 0.05). Fatigue significantly decreased and the perceived capability to regulate negative affect and to express positive emotions improved after exercise (p < 0.001). Significant improvements were found for body mass index, trunk lateral flexibility, monopodalic balance, isometric handgrip force and functional mobility (p < 0.001). Fatigue was significantly correlated with handgrip force (r = −0.56, p < 0.001) and functional mobility (r = −0.69, p < 0.001). Conclusions: The supervised exercise program improved psychological and physical fitness without causing adverse effects and health problems. Therefore, exercise to improve fitness levels and reduce perceived fatigue should be considered in the management of lymphoma patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number379
JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Adapted physical activity
  • Cancer
  • Fatigue
  • Self-efficacy
  • Special population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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