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Table 2 Summary of preoperative exercise therapy regimens

From: Preoperative exercise therapy for gastrointestinal cancer patients: a systematic review

Study Groups Length of therapy Frequency Duration Intensity Follow-up Outcome
Carli et al. Biking/strengthening 59.0 days* Daily 20–45 min ≥ 50% MHR. Volitional fatigue within 8–12 repetitions. 2–4 m ↔Functional walking capacity before surgery
↑ Functional walking capacity in controls 4 weeks after surgery
↔ Length of stay
↔ Postoperative complications
Walk/breathing 45.4 days* Daily 40–45 min 2–4 m
Cho et al. Aerobic/resistance training, stretching 4 weeks 3–7/week NR NR 1 year ↓ BMI, Body weight, abdominal circumference, volume of visceral fat
↓Postoperative complications
↓ Length of stay
Matched controls in database NA NA NA NA NA
Dronkers et al. Aerobic exercise, resistance training, IMT 2–4 weeks Daily 30–60 min 55–75% MHR, 11–13 on Borg Scale NR ↑ Respiratory muscle endurance in preoperative period
↔ Time-up-and-go, chair rise time, LASA Physical Activity Questionnaire, physical work capacity, and quality of life
↔ Postoperative complications
↔ Length of stay
Home-based exercise advice 2–4 weeks Daily ≥ 30 mins NR NR
Gillis et al. Aerobic/resistance training, nutritional therapy, relaxation exercises before and after surgery 4 weeks pre-op, 8 weeks post-op ≥ 3/week 50 mins ≥ 40% HRR, 8–12 repetitions 8 weeks ↑ Functional walking capacity before surgery, and at 8 weeks post-op
↑ Recovery to baseline
↔ Postoperative Complications
↔ Length of stay
Aerobic/resistance training, nutritional therapy, relaxation exercises after surgery 8 weeks post-op ≥ 3/week 50 mins ≥ 40% HRR, 8–12 repetitions 8 weeks
Kaibori et al. Aerobic exercise, diet therapy ≤ 1 month pre-op, 6 months post-op 3/week 60 mins NR 6 m ↓Body mass, fat mass
↓Serum insulin, insulin resistance
↑AT VO2, peak VO2
Diet therapy ≤ 1 month pre-op, 6 months post-op NA NA NA 6 m
Kim et al. Aerobic exercise 4 weeks Daily 20–30 min 40–65% HRR 4 weeks ↓Heart rate, oxygen consumption
↑Peak power output
↔Functional walking capacity
Standard care NA NA NA NA 4 weeks
Li et al. Aerobic/resistance training, diet therapy, relaxation exercises 21–46 days 3/week 30 mins 50% MHR; volitional fatigue 8 weeks ↑Functional walking capacity at 4 weeks and 8 weeks postoperatively
↑ Recovery to baseline
↔Postoperative complications
↔ Length of stay
Standard care NA NA NA NA 8 weeks
West et al. Aerobic exercise 6 weeks 3/week 40 mins Intervals at 80% pVO2 work rate at θL and 50% of the difference between in work rates between pVO2 and VO2 at θL 6 weeks ↓ VO2 at θL after NACRT
↑ VO2 at θL after exercise
Dunne et al. Aerobic exercise 4 weeks 12 sessions 30 mins Interval training alternating at less than 60% pVO2 at peak and more than 90% pVO2 at peak 4 weeks ↑ VO2 at AT and peak after exercise
↑ Mental and overall QOL
Standard care NA NA NA NA 4 weeks
  1. Length of therapy refers to therapy prior to surgery, unless otherwise noted
  2. *Mean: ↑ = statistically significant increase compared with control group, ↓ = statistically significant decrease compared with control group, ↔ = no significant difference between groups
  3. AT anabolic threshold, HRR heart rate reserve, IMT inspiratory muscle training, MHR maximal heart rate, NACRT neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy, NA not applicable, NR not reported, QOL quality of life, VO2 oxygen uptake, θL lactate threshold