|Abstract:||More than 250,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer, and roughly 63,000 new cases of in situ breast cancer were estimated to be diagnosed in 2017, within the United States (DeSantis, Ma, Goding Sauer, Newman, & Jemal, 2017). Chronic fatigue occurs at an extremely high rate in women diagnosed with breast cancer and can lead to increased sequelae and decreased quality of life. Aerobic exercise has been shown to improve certain aspects of cognitive functioning among breast cancer survivors (F. C. Dimeo, 2001). Additionally, common relaxation therapies such as guided mindfulness training (Deimling, Sterns, Bowman, & Kahana, 2005) have been shown to reduce fatigue, anxiety, and other negative affective states (DeSantis, Ma, Goding Sauer, et al., 2017). Though researchers have explored the separate impacts of aerobic exercise and relaxation methods (i.e., meditation and yoga) (Jacobs, Mehling, Goldberg, & Eppel, 2004; Sadja & Mills, 2013), the existing literature lacks a clear consensus regarding the effectiveness of acute aerobic exercise and relaxation techniques for reducing fatigue and related symptoms in breast cancer survivors. Driving this line of research are desires of survivors for an enjoyable, feasible intervention focused on the negative effects (e.g., fatigue) of chemotherapy treatment. Certain forms of chemotherapy (e.g., anthracycline-based) are more associated with decreased quality of life, including severe fatigue, as well as cognitive and physical functioning deficits. To date, no studies have tested the combined effects of acute aerobic exercise and adjuvant relaxation therapy delivered via technology for producing an enjoyable and feasible intervention to target fatigue and related outcomes within the breast cancer survivorship population.
The addition of guided mindfulness-based relaxation after aerobic exercise may increase perceived energy, reduce fatigue, enhance mental focus, and boost one’s overall interpretation of exercise experiences. This, in turn, may facilitate more favorable attitudes towards exercise and personal health and well-being.