Exercise is difficult enough for healthy people, but it’s even harder for breast cancer survivors after surgery and rounds of taxing therapy. Studies have shown that exercise can buoy the health of cancer survivors, but heavy fatigue and pain after treatment can keep patients from going on a run or a bike ride. Now a new study published in the January issue of Journal of Clinical Oncology shows that yoga may be a manageable way for breast cancer survivors to work out and still attain health benefits comparable with (and perhaps superior to) other kinds of exercise.
To investigate the effects of yoga, breast cancer survivors of all ages gathered twice a week for three months to practice hatha yoga for the study conducted by The Ohio State University. Researcher Janice Kiecolt-Glaser and her team tracked two important components of diminished health: fatigue and inflammation. Fatigue from cancer treatments hinders daily activity for one in three breast cancer survivors, and less physically active survivors are more at risk for poor health and early death. Inflammation also provides an important measure of health because it drives fatigue and is linked to many problems, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. Kiecolt-Glaser’s study is the largest yet to evaluate how yoga affects inflammation in cancer survivors. Continue reading >> scientificamerican.com