Yoga exercise reduced fatigue and inflammation associated with
decreased physical function.
Breast cancer survivors frequently cite myriad symptoms, including
fatigue, deconditioning, and depression. In addition, their
cardiorespiratory fitness is about 30% lower than that of their
sedentary, age-matched, cancer-free counterparts. Survivors benefit
from regular exercise but often limit their physical activity because
of pain and fatigue. Would less vigorous yoga exercise provide health
benefits for such individuals?
To find out, investigators conducted a 3-month, randomized, controlled
trial in which 200 breast cancer survivors were assigned to a yoga
program (twice-weekly, 90-minute, hatha yoga workouts for 12 weeks) or
to usual activities (controls). The primary outcomes were measures of
inflammation associated with decreased physical function —
interleukin (IL)-6, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α), and interleukin
(IL)-1β — as well as scores on validated assessments of vitality,
fatigue, and depression. Women reporting more than 5 hours of vigorous
exercise per week or prior or current yoga practice were excluded.
Immediately after treatment, vitality was higher in the yoga group
than in controls (P=0.01), but fatigue was not diminished. At 3 months
after treatment, fatigue was lower in the yoga group (P=0.002),
vitality was higher (P=0.01), and inflammatory measures were lower:
IL-6 (P=0.027), TNF-α (P=0.027), and IL-β (P=0=.037). Measures of
depression did not differ between groups.
Kiecolt-Glaser JK et al., J Clin Oncol 2014 Jan 27;