A fairly good-sized study, the largest done to date, has established that weight training won't worsen the symptoms of lymphoedema as previously thought. On the contrary, the exercise regimen may actually improve them Light-weight training that enhances the strength of the upper part of the body may assist women in getting rid of the arm and hand inflammation, termed as lymphoedema, which may normally occur in breast cancer survivors, suggests the findings of a new study. Funded by the U.S. National Cancer Institute and the National Center for Research Resources, the study established that such weight exercises can thwart the outbreak of the stressful condition of swelling in patients who have had their lymph nodes removed. "Weight lifting reduced the number and severity of arm and hand symptoms, increased muscular strength and reduced the incidence of lymphoedema," a team at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine said. As an established practice, women suffering from lymphoedema are advised not to lift anything that is heavy or bulky. As a result, many women do not even consider weight training as an option. In the process, they miss out on so many of the known benefits of such workouts. Details of the study For the purpose of the study, researchers examined 141 women diagnosed with lymphoedema after their breast cancer surgery. The researchers ensured that all the women under observation matched in age and the number of lymph nodes removed were identical. The study followed these women for a full year, giving a fair idea of what impact weight training might have on women and what problems they might encounter due to these workouts. During the study, half of these women persisted with their standard exercise habits, while the rest were given weight-training classes for a period of 13 weeks. The latter group adorned compression bandages on the affected arm at the time of the workouts. The weights and repetitions were gradually increased. After the stipulated 13 week training program, these women continued with the upper- and lower-body weight training for the rest of the year. The training regimen, however, entailed exercising only twice a week. Verdict of the study The study found that 14 percent of the women in the weight-training group experienced a flare-up of lymphoedema compared with 29 percent of the women in the other group that did not undergo the weight training. Wendy Demark-Wahnefried of Houston's M.D. Anderson Cancer Center stated, Although no cost analysis was reported, the weight-lifting intervention clearly has the potential to result in cost savings, not only by reducing direct health care costs but also by potentially reducing the risk of disability and allowing women to return to work at full capacity, either within or outside the home."