A Florida State University (FSU) professor details in a new study how a weight training regimen may possibly help breast cancer survivors regain their strength following cancer treatment and physical inactivity.

According to a media release from FSU, women naturally lose muscle mass and bone strength as they age, but chemotherapy can speed up that process and make routine tasks difficult to perform. However, this new study, led by Lynn Panton, PhD, suggests that a supervised weight training program may help breast cancer survivors improve their physical functionality.

In the study, which was published recently in the academic journal Healthcare, Panton—a professor of exercise science at FSU—and her students helped 27 breast cancer survivors, aged 51 to 74 years, perform two, 1-hour sessions per week on various weight machines for 6 months. The participants also walked for 5 minutes as a warm-up and stretched when they completed the exercises, per a media release from Florida State University.

During the study, the participants’ functionality was measured using the Continuous-Scale Physical Function Performance Test. The 10-item test simulates routine chores such as doing laundry, sweeping, packing and carrying groceries, walking up bus stairs, and taking a jacket on and off, the release explains.

Per the test results, at the end of the study, the participants’ functionality improved 12%.

Also, none of the women experienced injuries or lymphedema during the study.

“We had an amazing group of ladies who worked really hard,” Panton states in the release. “They were so motivated. You saw ladies talking about being able to pick up their grandkids and do other things they couldn’t do after their cancer treatments.”

Per the release, Panton and her team are looking into other types of programs such as high-intensity interval training to see if that might be a more effective way for women to regain lost muscle mass and perhaps bone density following chemotherapy.

[Source(s): Florida State University, Newswise]