Acute Effects of Aerobic Exercise and Relaxation Training on Fatigue in Breast Cancer Survivors: A Feasibility Trial

Jason Cohen, Wendy A Rogers, Steven Petruzzello, Linda Trinh, Sean P Mullen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This three-armed randomized controlled feasibility trial tested the acceptability and acute effects of aerobic exercise and technology-guided mindfulness training (relative to standalone interventions) on cancer-related fatigue among breast cancer survivors (BCS). Methods: BCS recruited from Central Illinois completed pre- and post-testing using established measures and were randomized to one of three groups (combined aerobic exercise with guided-mindfulness relaxation, aerobic exercise only, and relaxation only), conducted in three 90 min sessions over the course of 7 days in a fitness room and research office on a university campus. Results: We enrolled 40 BCS (M age = 57.33 ± 8.75), M BMI = 27.38 ± 5.27, M fatigue = 4.56 ± 1.81 as measured by the Piper Fatigue Scale. More favorable post-intervention evaluations were reported by the combined group, compared to aerobic exercise or relaxation only (p < 0.05). Reductions in fatigue favoring the combined group (p = 0.05) showed a modest effect size (Cohen's d = 0.91) compared to aerobic exercise only. Conclusions: These findings provide preliminary evidence for the feasibility of combining evidence-based techniques to address fatigue among BCS. The combined approach, incorporating mobile health technology, presents an efficacious and well-received design. If replicated in longer trials, the approach could provide a promising opportunity to deliver broad-reaching interventions for improved outcomes in BCS. Preregistered-ClinicalTrials NCT03702712.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-259
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • aerobic exercise
  • breast cancer
  • cancer
  • fatigue
  • feasibility
  • mindfulness based stress reduction
  • psycho-oncology
  • relaxation
  • survivorship
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Oncology


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