Int J Sports Med 2014; 35(14): e1-e9
DOI: 10.1055/s-0034-1389972
Clinical Sciences
© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Exercise Intensity Guidelines for Cancer Survivors: a Comparison with Reference Values

E. Gil-Rey
3   University of the Basque Country, Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, Physical Education and Sport, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
K. Quevedo-Jerez
1   Gabinete Médico Deportivo, Ayuntamiento de Miranda de Ebro, Spain
2   Grupo de Investigación en Actividad Física y Salud (GIAFyS), Medical, Miranda de Ebro, Spain
S. Maldonado-Martin
3   University of the Basque Country, Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, Physical Education and Sport, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
F. Herrero-Román
1   Gabinete Médico Deportivo, Ayuntamiento de Miranda de Ebro, Spain
2   Grupo de Investigación en Actividad Física y Salud (GIAFyS), Medical, Miranda de Ebro, Spain
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

accepted after revision 06 August 2014

Publication Date:
27 November 2014 (online)


The optimal dose of physical activity (PA) in cancer survivors (CS) is unknown due to the large variety of types of cancer, illness stages and treatments, low cardiorespiratory fitness, and physical inactivity. It is recommended that CS follow current PA guidelines for healthy population. There are no specific exercise prescription guidelines for CS. To know the cardiorespiratory parameters of CS in order to create exercise prescription guidelines for this population, 152 inactive CS were recruited to perform a cardiopulmonary exercise test. Peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak), ventilatory threshold (VT) and respiratory compensation point (RCP) determined 3 exercise intensity zones to create exercise intensity classification guidelines for CS. VO2peak (18.7±4.6 mL·kg−1·min−1) and peak heart rate (HRpeak) (145.1±17.9 bpm) were lower than the estimated values (p<0.001). Moderate intensity zone for CS was different from the current PA guidelines for healthy population: 41–64% VO2max, 55–70% HRmax, 23–48% HRres, 2.5–4 METs and 8–14 points on RPE scale. Intensities in PA guidelines for healthy population are not adapted to the characteristics of CS. For individual exercise prescription in CS specific PA guidelines should be used in order to maximize the benefits obtained by the use of aerobic exercise training.

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