(HealthDay News) — An exercise intervention performed during chemotherapy can prevent fatigue and preserve cardiorespiratory fitness, according to a study published in JACC: CardioOncology.

Gabriela G.F. van der Schoot, MD, from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a clinical trial of patients scheduled to receive curative chemotherapy. Patients with breast (n=139), testicular (n=95), and colon cancer (n=30) were included, as were 2 lymphoma patients.

The patients were randomly assigned to a 24-week exercise intervention, initiated during chemotherapy or afterward (groups A and B, respectively).

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The primary endpoint was peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) at 1 year post-intervention. The researchers found no difference between the groups in VO2peak immediately post-intervention and at 1 year post-intervention.

However, compared with patients in group B, those in group A exhibited significantly lower decreases in VO2peak, health-related quality of life, and muscle strength immediately post-chemotherapy. Patients in group A also reported less fatigue and more physical activity.

“These findings suggest that the most optimal timing of physical exercise is during chemotherapy. However, initiating a physical exercise program after chemotherapy is a viable alternative when exercising during chemotherapy is not possible,” the authors wrote.

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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