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Study Found Link Between Improvement Of Sleeping And Walking Among Lung Cancer Patients

First Posted: Nov 19, 2016 03:20 AM EST
Walking
Walking several times a week may improve lung cancer patients' sleep and quality of life.
(Photo : Renee McKay/Getty Images)

A recent study from Taiwan claims that walking several times a week may improve lung cancer patients' sleep and quality of life.

Reuters reported that those who participated in a 12-week home-based walking program turned out to have better sleep quality at both three and six months after the program. The results reinforce similar findings in breast and colorectal cancer patients, researchers say.

"Walking is safe, feasible and effective for patients. Just walk!" said senior author Chia-Chin Lin, a nursing professor at Taipei Medical University. Lin and colleagues have published several studies these past years about links between physical activity, sleep and quality of life in lung cancer patients.

Lin also said that patients with lung cancer often experience problems sleeping during and after treatment that can also affect the quality of life and cancer prognosis. "With advances in lung cancer treatment, survival improves significantly," she told Reuters Health by e-mail. "Any interventions that can improve symptoms and quality of life are valuable."

Lin and colleagues studied 111 lung cancer patients with ages between the late 30s and early 80s as part of a randomized controlled trial. Almost two third had stage 1 cancer. For the study, the patients were divided into two groups. One group had 56 patients and was advised to walk at a moderate intensity for 40 minutes three times a week.

These patients were also asked to keep track of their exercise after every session. They also participated in weekly exercise counseling sessions and wore wrist monitors that collected subjective and objective sleep data such as total sleep time, sleep onset time and sleep quality. The other 55 patients received usual medical care and an opportunity for exercise counseling after the study concluded.

"Traditionally, physical activities have not been emphasized in lung cancer patients due to concerns about fragility and limited cardiopulmonary function," Lin said. "However, we found that home-based walking programs may be a safe and feasible way to improve emotion and sleep quality."

Meanwhile, the study also looked at circadian rhythms, which is often known as the body clock. In this case, study's authors gauged how consistently patients woke and went to sleep at the same times each day. The researchers revealed that exercise was linked to improved sleep quality. People whose circadian rhythms were most disrupted got the most benefit, reported Fox News.

These rhythms are believed to influence several aspects of health such as heart rate, sleep, inflammation and metabolism. Altered circadian function can increase the risk for a number of chronic diseases, Lin said.

It is also important to note that this study is the first randomized controlled trial that studies the long-term effects of walking programs on lung cancer patients by measuring data six months later, not just 30 or 90 days later, the study authors write in the British Journal of Cancer.

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