A Physical Test to Estimate Suitable Workloads for an Exercise Program in Breast Cancer Survivors

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Epidemiologic studies suggest that patients with breast cancer who gain weight after diagnosis have a higher risk of recurrence and death. Regular physical exercise can help minimize post-diagnosis weight gain. The objective of the study was to assess the effectiveness of a physical test for individualizing the workloads used during a fitness program.To continuously individualize the intensity of the training, a test was designed and integrated into the sessions. The test consisted in monitoring heart rate and workload during two bouts of cycling at moderate intensity. The workload parameters recorded during the tests were later used as reference values to plan the intensity of the next inperson training sessions.The five tests carried out during the twelve weeks of the intervention showed significant differences in intensity (F=3.034, p=0.047). Compared to the first evaluation, the intensities measured during the third, fourth and fifth tests presented increases of 9.9% (p=0.02), 13.2% (p=0.019) and 17.5% (p=0.002) respectively. A significant increase in workload with respect to body weight was observed in the physical assessment performed after the program (t= 13.2, p=0.0001). The peak oxygen consumption with respect to body weight (peak VO2) achieved by the participants during the assessment at the end of the program had also increased (t= 9.72, P= 0.0001).The intensity test, introduced in the training sessions along with the physical exercise program, was an easy-to-use, practical tool for monitoring intensity. It allows an adjustment of the workload over the program period that respects the individual progression of each patient.

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