People with hematologic malignancies such as acute myeloid leukemia and lymphoma receive high-dose chemotherapy followed by hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) as curative therapy (Hahn et al., 2001, 2003, 2006; Oliansky et al., 2008, 2009; Rowe et al., 1994). HSCT recipients frequently experience considerable deterioration of their health status as a result of dose-intensive therapy, particularly during the immediate post-transplantation period. This deterioration in health status has the potential to affect all aspects of life, and the impact may be felt for years following treatment. A marked reduction in physical activity immediately following high-dose chemotherapy and HSCT has been documented (Hacker et al., 2006). Although the specific cause is not understood, the physical inactivity may be protracted and sufficient to cause physical deconditioning, loss of muscle mass, and decreased strength and endurance (Coleman et al., 2003; Cunningham et al., 1986). Aerobic and strength-training exercises have been used successfully to increase levels of physical activity. Aerobic exercise improves cardiorespiratory conditioning, whereas strength training is more effective in minimizing skeletal muscle wasting associated with prolonged physical inactivity (American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand, 2009). A strength-training intervention that minimizes muscle wasting in patients undergoing HSCT is particularly attractive if the end result is an enhanced ability to perform activities of daily living and improved health status perceptions and quality of life.
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