Faculty Advisor

Reid Hayward

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Phase angle is a measure of cellular resistance and reactance to bioelectrical impedance analysis. This measurement is useful as a marker of cell membrane integrity and is used as a prognostic marker in several clinical populations. Cancer and its related treatments impact cell membrane integrity, leading to poor cell function. Exercise is shown to increase phase angle, resulting in lowered risk of hospitalization and cardiovascular events. However, the effect of chronic exercise training on phase angle in the cancer population is unclear. Purpose: To assess the effect of chronic exercise on phase angle in cancer patients who are actively undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation. Methods: A total of 56 cancer patients who were actively undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy were recruited to participate in a 12 week exercise-based rehabilitation program at the University of Northern Colorado Cancer Rehabilitation Institute. Each participant underwent an initial assessment of physiological parameters, including body composition and phase angle analysis. Results of this assessment were used to develop an individualized exercise prescription. Each participant received prescribed, supervised, one-on-one training from a Clinical Cancer Exercise Specialist, three times per week for one hour each session. After 12 weeks, each participant underwent a follow-up assessment of physiological parameters. Results: After 12 weeks of exercise training, significant increases in whole body (Initial: 4.55 ± 0.72, Follow-up: 4.68 ± 0.68; p = 0.02), right arm (Initial: 4.45 ± 0.76, Follow-up: 4.57 ± 0.72; p = 0.03), and left arm (Initial: 4.28 ± 0.79, Follow-up: 4.39 ± 0.75; p = 0.03) phase angle was observed. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that prescribed exercise training can increase phase angle in cancer survivors even while undergoing chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments. These changes may provide insight into the protective and rehabilitative benefits (e.g., cellular health, membrane integrity, disease risk) that exercise may have in this population.


This presentation is a finalist for the Graduate Natural and Health Sciences Research Excellence Award