The impact of a meditative movement practice intervention on short- and long-term changes in physical activity among breast cancer survivors

Author: Erica G Soltero1, Dara L James2, SeungYong Han3, Linda K Larkey4
Affiliation: <sup>1</sup> USDA/ARS Children&#x27;s Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine, 1100 Bates St, Houston, TX, 77030, USA. <sup>2</sup> College of Nursing, University of South Alabama, 5721 USA Drive North, Mobile, AL, 36688, USA. <sup>3</sup> Department of Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, Pasadena, CA, USA. <sup>4</sup> Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, 500N 3rd St, Phoenix, AZ, 85004, USA.
Conference/Journal: J Cancer Surviv
Date published: 2023 Jul 28
Other: Special Notes: doi: 10.1007/s11764-023-01430-0. , Word Count: 301

Tai Chi Easy (TCE) is a low-impact, meditative movement practice that is feasible for breast cancer survivors, even in the face of post-treatment symptoms, and may even serve as a gateway into developing an active lifestyle and improving overall physical activity (PA). In the context of a randomized controlled trial testing effects of an 8-week TCE intervention on breast cancer survivors' symptoms, we examined the short- (8-week) and long-term (9-month) impact on total PA compared to an educational control group.

Participants were recruited from two hospital systems, local community organizations, and different media platforms. Eligible participants were predominant non-Hispanic White (82%), college educated (92%), and middle- to high-income (65%), and most commonly reported stage 1 (40%) or 2 breast cancer (38%). After baseline assessments, participants were randomized to the 8-week TCE intervention (N=51) or education control (N=53). Weekly intervention TCE classes were led by a trained instructor. Weekly educational control classes focused on a series of readings and group discussions. Total PA and steps were objectively measured via accelerometry, and the international physical activity questionnaire was used to measure self-reported total PA.

Multilevel mixed-effects linear regression models revealed no significant short- or long-term changes in objectively measured total PA or steps in either group; however, participants in the intervention reported short- and long-term changes in self-reported total PA.

TCE is an appropriate PA strategy for survivors that may lead to modest improvements in PA; however, more research is needed to examine the long-term impact on PA as well as other physical and psychological outcomes (i.e., flexibility, mobility, stress).

Implications for cancer survivors:
Low-impact, low-intensity activities like meditative movement practices are needed to assist survivors in overcoming post-treatment physical and psychological limitations to initiate a more active lifestyle.

Keywords: Cancer survivorship; Community health; Physical activity; Tai Chi Easy.

PMID: 37507530 DOI: 10.1007/s11764-023-01430-0