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Biol Res Nurs. 2008 Jul;10(1):34-43.

An aerobic weight-loaded pilot exercise intervention for breast cancer survivors: bone remodeling and body composition outcomes.

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  • 1Yale University School of Nursing, 100 Church Street South, New Haven, CT 06536, USA.



Weight gain and bone loss are commonly reported in breast cancer survivors. The purpose of this pilot study is to assess feasibility and explore the effect of an aerobic weight-loaded exercise intervention on bone remodeling, weight, and body composition.


A one-group pre-posttest design was used to test a 16-24-week supervised walking exercise intervention among women within 2 years of menopause. Through Weeks 1-4, time and weight were progressively increased. By Week 5 and through the end of the intervention, a waist belt was loaded with 5 lb and participants spent 45 min on the treadmill 3 times/week. Bone remodeling was measured by serum biomarkers (N-terminal propeptides of type I collagen [NTX] and serum osteocalcin). Dual-energy absorptiometry scans assessed body composition. Data were collected at baseline and 16 and 24 weeks.


The majority of the 26 participants were married, well educated, and employed, with a mean age of 51.3 years (SD = 6.2). The high adherence (M = 88.2%, SD = 6.8) demonstrated feasibility. There were no significant changes in serum osteocalcin (p = .67), serum NTX (p = .31), lean muscle mass (p = .08), or percent fat mass for the group as a whole (p = .14), but fat mass increased for women on adjuvant endocrine therapy (p = .04). The women maintained their weight.


This novel exercise intervention for breast cancer survivors was feasible, and women otherwise at high risk for weight gain and bone loss maintained their weight and bone mass.

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