For patients in the advanced stages of cancer, walking for at least 30 minutes thrice a week may boost a positive attitude towards their illness and improve their quality of life, new research claims.
Despite growing evidence of significant health benefits of exercise to cancer patients, physical activity commonly declines considerably during treatment and remains low afterwards.
“Walking is a free and accessible form of physical activity, and patients reported that it made a real difference to their quality of life,” said lead researcher Jo Armes, a senior lecturer at London’s King’s College.
The study is a first step towards exploring how walking can help people living with advanced stages of cancer.
The findings in the programme of group walk for cancer patients showed marked improvement both physically, emotionally and psychologically.
“The study shows that exercise is valued by, suitable for, and beneficial to people with advanced cancer,” said Emma Ream Professor at the University of Surrey in Britain.
Many participants noted that walking provided an improved positive attitude towards their illness and spoke of the social benefits of participating in group walks.
It also increased their motivation to reduce weight by altering diet, the researchers said, in the paper published in the journal BMJ Open.
For the study, the team included 42 cancer patients with advanced breast, prostate, gynaecological or haematological cancers.
They measured patient outcome after assessing quality of life, activity, fatigue, mood and self-efficacy that were completed at baseline of six, 12 and 24 weeks.