High-intensity exercise training appears to be safe, feasible, and efficacious to improve cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition for colorectal cancer survivors, a recent study published online ahead of print in the Journal of Cancer Survivorship has shown.1

Because reductions in cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition lead to significant increases in morbidity and mortality among patients with colorectal cancer who have received anticancer therapy, researchers sought to evaluate the impact of 4 weeks of high-intensity exercise compared with moderate-intensity exercise training on peak oxygen consumption and body composition in survivors of colorectal cancer.

For the study, researchers enrolled 47 posttreatment colorectal cancer survivors and randomly assigned them to undergo high-intensity or moderate-intensity exercise in accordance with current physical activity guidelines. Participants completed 12 exercise training sessions over a period of 4 weeks.

Results showed that high-intensity exercise was superior to moderate-intensity exercise in improving peak oxygen consumption.

Researchers also found that high-intensity training led to significant increases in lean mass and reductions in fat mass and fat percentage. No changes in lean mass, fat mass, or fat percentage were observed in the moderate-intensity exercise group.

In regard to safety, researchers observed no severe adverse events in either treatment arm.

“[High-intensity exercise] appears to offer superior improvements in cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition in comparison to current physical activity recommendations for colorectal cancer survivors and therefore may be an effective clinical utility following treatment,” the authors conclude.

REFERENCE

1. Devin JL, Sax AT, Hughes GI, et al. The influence of high-intensity compared with moderate-intensity exercise training on cardiorespiratory fitness and body composition in colorectal cancer survivors: a randomised controlled trial [published online ahead of print October 19, 2015]. J Cancer Surviv. doi:10.1007/s11764-015-0490-7.