Aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of metastatic cancer by 72%, according to a study

A new study from Tel Aviv University (Israel) has calculated that aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of metastatic cancer by 72 percent.

According to the researchers, whose work has been published in the scientific journal ‘Cancer Research’, intensity aerobic exercise increases the consumption of glucose (sugar) from the internal organs, thus reducing the availability of energy for the tumor.

Previous studies have shown that physical exercise reduces the risk of some types of cancer by up to 35 percent. This positive effect parallels the impact of exercise on other conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

In this study, the researchers added a new perspective, showing that high-intensity aerobic exercise, which gets its energy from sugar, can reduce the risk of metastatic cancer by up to 72 percent.

“If until now the general message to the public has been ‘be active, be healthy’, we can now explain how aerobic activity can maximize the prevention of the most aggressive and metastatic types of cancer,” the authors highlighted.

The study combined laboratory models trained under a strict exercise regimen, with data from healthy human volunteers examined before and after running. Human data, obtained from an epidemiological study that followed 3,000 individuals for about 20 years, indicated 72 percent fewer metastatic cancers in participants who reported regular, high-intensity aerobic activity, compared with those who did not exercise.

The animal model showed a similar result, allowing the researchers to identify its underlying mechanism. They found that aerobic activity significantly reduced the development of metastatic tumors in the lymph nodes, lungs, and liver of laboratory models.

The researchers hypothesized that, in both humans and model animals, this favorable outcome is related to the increased rate of exercise-induced glucose consumption.

“By examining the cells of these organs, we found an increase in the number of glucose receptors during high-intensity aerobic activity, which increases glucose consumption and turns the organs into efficient energy-consuming machines, much like muscles.” We hypothesize that this occurs because the organs must compete for sugar resources with the muscles, which are known to burn large amounts of glucose during physical exercise.Therefore, if cancer develops, the fierce competition for glucose reduces the availability of energy that is essential for metastasis”, commented Carmit Levy, one of the people in charge of the research.

In addition, the expert points out that “when a person exercises regularly, this condition becomes permanent: the tissues of the internal organs change and become similar to muscle tissue.”

“We all know that sport and physical exercise are good for our health. Our study, looking at the internal organs, found that exercise changes the whole body, so that cancer cannot spread, and the primary tumor also reduces its size”, he added about it.

“Our results indicate that, unlike exercise to burn fat, which is relatively moderate, it is high-intensity aerobic activity that helps prevent cancer. If the optimal intensity range for burning fat is 65-70 percent percent of maximum pulse rate, burning sugar requires 80-85 percent, even if only for short intervals,” added another of the authors, Yftach Gepner.

For example, they urge doing a one minute sprint followed by a walk and then another sprint. “In the past, these types of intervals were typical of athletes’ training regimens, but today we also see them in other exercise routines, such as cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Our results suggest that healthy individuals should also include high-intensity components in their fitness programs”, they have concluded.

Europe Press

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