Int J Sports Med 2013; 34(01): 68-73
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1314816
Clinical Sciences
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Exercise Effects on HRV in Cancer Patients

D. Niederer
1   Department of Sports Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
L. Vogt
1   Department of Sports Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
C. Thiel
1   Department of Sports Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
K. Schmidt
1   Department of Sports Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
M. Bernhörster
1   Department of Sports Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
A. Lungwitz
1   Department of Sports Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
E. Jäger
2   Department of Hematology and Oncology, Krankenhaus Nordwest, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
W. Banzer
1   Department of Sports Medicine, Goethe-University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 23 April 2012

Publication Date:
15 August 2012 (online)


The present study evaluated the effects of physical exercise on heart rate variability (HRV) in cancer patients. 3 matched groups of each 15 tumour patients (60.4±8.9 years, 27 male, 18 female) were recruited: Physical exercise group 1 (acute treatment), Physical exercise group 2 (post treatment) and non-intervention group (acute treatment, no exercise). Exercise group patients received counselling for exercise and participated in a Nordic-Walking program. Short-term HRV-recordings, assessments of fatigue and quality of life (QoL) were performed prior to and 16 weeks after the exercise program initiation. MANCOVA revealed group × time differences in total power frequency domain of HRV and QoL (p<0.05). TP follow-up scores [logms2] differed significantly between non-intervention and intervention post treatment (2.0±0.5 vs. 2.6±0.5), but not between non-intervention and intervention during acute treatment. QoL follow-up scores differed significantly between non-intervention and intervention during acute treatment (47±15 vs. 64±18) and post treatment (47±15 vs. 69±19). Exercise enhances cardiac autonomic regulation of tumour patients during and after acute treatment. Because of the association of higher HRV-parameters and prolonged survival in cancer patients, improvement in autonomic control may be an important goal of exercise.

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