Exercise, aging, and cancer

Courneya, Kerry S.; Karvinen, Kristina H.
December 2007
Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism;Dec2007, Vol. 32 Issue 6, p1001
Academic Journal
Cancer is a common disease that affects over 150 000 Canadians every year. About 78% of all cancers are diagnosed in adults aged 60 years and older. Improved survival rates for cancer survivors have brought lifestyle and quality of life issues to the forefront. In other chronic disease populations, exercise is considered a foundational health behavior; however, the benefits of exercise in cancer survivors are only beginning to be described. Moreover, what little is known about exercise in cancer survivors has been derived largely from research on middle-aged survivors. In the present article, we review the literature on exercise, aging, and cancer. Our review shows that very few studies have examined exercise in older cancer survivors or have approached the topic from an aging perspective. The limited research that is available suggests that, compared with middle-aged cancer survivors, older cancer survivors: (i) derive similar benefits from exercise, (ii) have lower exercise participation rates, (iii) have more difficulty adhering to an exercise program, and (iv) have different determinants of exercise motivation and behavior. We end by offering some future research directions that may help generate important new exercise knowledge in this underserved cancer survivor population.


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