K. Christison, A. Covington, C. Dumke, FACSM

University of Montana, Missoula, MT.

Dragonboat racing is a growing exercise modality for breast cancer survivors to improve health and fitness during survivorship, but there is little modality-specific research examining the physiological impacts of the repetitive upper-body sport. PURPOSE: To examine the effects of seasonal Dragonboat training on markers of cardiovascular health and fitness in breast cancer survivors. METHODS: Twelve postmenopausal females (55.6 ±1.4 yrs, 68.8 ± 2.9 kg, 38.9 ± 1.5% body fat) that have a history of breast cancer came into the lab before (PRE) and after (POST) a 16-week Dragonboat paddling season. At each visit, participants completed a dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry scan to measure body composition and bone mineral density (BMD), a graded exercise test via treadmill to establish maximal aerobic capacity (VO2max), blood samples to measure serum estradiol, progesterone, insulin, and fasting glucose concentrations, and a submaximal paddling test on a paddle ergometer to measure submaximal VO2. Paired sample t-tests were used to measure differences from PRE to POST in all measures, and Pearson correlations identified relationships between markers. Data presented as mean ± SEM. RESULTS: No significant differences were seen PRE to POST in body weight or body fat percentage, but significant decreases in visceral adipose tissue (551 ± 74 vs. 519 ± 68 g, P= 0.016) were evident. Significant increases in BMD were seen at the hip (0.59 ± 0.02 vs. 0.62 ± 0.02 g·cm-1, P= 0.021). No significant changes were seen in VO2max from PRE to POST (28.9 ± 1.8 vs. 29.8 ± 1.7 ml·kg-1·min-1, P= 0.14) nor in submaximal VO2 at paddling workloads, but there was a positive correlation between ∆ VO2max and ∆ efficiency at 40W (R=0.72, P=0.018). After the 16-week training, there were no significant differences in estradiol or progesterone, but significant ameliorations were seen in insulin (6.6 ± 0.9 vs. 4.2 ± 0.8 uIU·mL-1, P= 0.048) and fasting glucose (93.6 ± 5.0 vs. 83.0 ± 3.2 g·dL-1, P= 0.027). CONCLUSION: These data suggest that seasonal Dragonboat training can maintain aerobic capacity in an already fit group of survivors. Aerobic fitness related directly to paddling efficiency. Seasonal paddling can redistribute visceral body fat, and 16 weeks of training improves fasting metabolic status.

*This research was supported by Silver Lining Foundation.

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