Walking or jogging either three times a week for 50 minutes or five times a week for 30 minutes may help patients with advanced gastrointestinal cancer to cope better with the side effects of chemotherapy, a study has showed.
Side effects of the chemotherapy may include loss of sensation, weakness, exhaustion, infections or severe diarrhoea, which often causes patients to reduce or even discontinue the programme.
The findings showed that as a result of the exercise, muscle mass improved as did functional properties, such as balance, walking speed and leg strength.
Further, the toxicity of the chemotherapy could be reduced through moderate activity.
“This is important because it is especially due to severe toxic effects that patients with gastrointestinal cancer often have to reduce the dose or even discontinue the chemotherapy altogether,” Katrin Stucher, doctoral student at the Goethe University Frankfurt in Germany, said in a statement.
Patients, who were engaged in exercise along with chemotherapy could tolerate the therapy better and experience less disease recurrence (relapses) later on.
“We believe that it will make sense in future to offer patients opportunities for physical exercise during chemotherapy. To eliminate adversities through the weather, exercise rooms could be set up in hospitals,” Stucher added.