Light Physical Activity Is Associated with Quality of Life after Colorectal Cancer

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Emerging evidence suggests that light physical activity (LPA), besides moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), may beneficially influence physical functioning of colorectal cancer survivors, but its relation with other health-related outcomes is unknown. We applied a biopsychosocial approach to investigate independent associations between self-reported LPA, MVPA, and multiple health-related quality of life (HRQoL) outcomes in 2- to 10-yr postdiagnosis colorectal cancer survivors.


Stage I–III colorectal cancer survivors diagnosed between 2002 and 2010 at Maastricht University Medical Center+, the Netherlands, were included in a cross-sectional study (n = 151). Time spent in LPA and MVPA (h·wk−1), and HRQoL outcome scores (0–100 points) were assessed by validated questionnaires.


Median time spent in LPA and MVPA was 10.0 (interquartile range, 2.0–22.0) and 8.7 h·wk−1 (4.5–15.0), respectively. In multivariable linear regression models, both LPA and MVPA were significantly and independently associated with higher physical functioning (mean difference [MD] between highest and lowest quartile, 10.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.2–20.3; and 14.5; 5.1–23.9, respectively; both P-trend < 0.05). In addition, LPA was significantly associated with higher role functioning (MD, 19.5; 95% CI, 6.9–32.1; P-trend < 0.01) and lower disability (MD, −9.9; 95% CI, −17.8 to −1.9; P-trend = 0.02), independent from MVPA. Subgroup analyses showed that beneficial associations between LPA and HRQoL were mainly observed in women and participants with multiple comorbidities.


Self-reported LPA, besides MVPA, was beneficially associated with multiple HRQoL outcomes in colorectal cancer survivors, especially in women and survivors with multiple comorbidities. Prospective studies are warranted to establish whether LPA is a suitable target for personalized lifestyle interventions to improve the HRQoL of colorectal cancer survivors.

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