Being in good physical condition at a young age can reduce the risk of cancer – at least for men. new research suggests.
The study published on Tuesday British Journal of Sports Medicinefound that men with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness at a young age were less likely to develop nine types of cancer later in life, including cancers of the head and neck, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, colon, in the kidneys and in the lungs.
Typically, cardiorespiratory fitness is associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, but very few large long-term studies have been published prior to this study.
“This study shows that higher fitness in healthy young men is associated with a lower risk of developing 9 out of 18 site-specific cancers studied, with the most clinically relevant risk rates being in the gastrointestinal tract,” the authors said in a study media release.
“These results could be used in public health policy and further strengthen the incentive to promote interventions with the goal of increase [cardiorespiratory fitness] In youth.”
Over an average period of 33 years, researchers at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden studied over a million men who, around the age of 18, took a military fitness test – a test that was required by law until 2010 – and compared those fitness levels to their results from cancer diagnoses.
The researchers analyzed data from the Swedish registry up to the end of 2019 and included background information and medical diagnoses and deaths for those who began military service between 1968 and 2005.
The military test consisted of riding a stationary bike at low resistance for five minutes and then increasing the resistance by 25 watts per minute until the men were too tired to continue.
Based on the test results, the researchers divided the participants into three categories: low, moderate, and high cardiorespiratory fitness.
Cardiorespiratory fitness is a measure of the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to deliver oxygen to muscles for energy production during physical activity American Heart Association. This includes the ability to perform aerobic exercise such as running, cycling, swimming for prolonged periods, and climbing stairs.
dr Aron Onerup, lead author of the study and a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Gothenburg, said cancer risk continues to decrease as people become more fit.
The results showed that people with high cardiorespiratory fitness had a 19% reduced risk of head and neck cancer and a 20% reduced risk of kidney cancer compared to the low fitness group.
The highest fitness group also showed a 42% lower risk of lung cancer, although the authors noted that this was due to people’s smoking habits.
As for gastrointestinal cancer, the results showed that those who were more fit had a nearly 40% reduced risk of developing cancers of the esophagus, liver, biliary tract, and gallbladder, and about a 20% reduced risk of developing stomach and Had colon cancer – a When he found Onerup said he was surprised.
However, higher scores were also associated with a 7% higher risk of prostate cancer and a 31% higher risk of skin cancer — possibly due to prostate cancer screening and sun exposure.
Because this study is an observational study, it cannot confirm any direct conclusions about cause and effect. Lifestyle information such as diet, alcohol consumption, smoking and any changes in cardiorespiratory fitness would need to be considered.
A recent study published in the journal JAMA Oncology showed that as little as four to five minutes of “vigorous physical activity” could reduce cancer risk in generally inactive people.
Another study found that as little as 11 minutes a day of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity can reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and premature death.