Reduce your risk of colon cancer by lifting weights

December 11, 2019 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

Exercise has been linked to a reduced risk of several cancers, such as colon, breast and endometrial cancers. New information further supports the  protective benefits of physical activity when it comes to colon cancer in particular.

According to a new study published in the Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise journal, your risk of being diagnosed with colon cancer can be reduced by as much as 25 percent through lifting weights.

The purveyors of the study gathered information from research collected by the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study. This allowed the researchers to look at how weight training impacted the risk of 10 common forms of cancer by studying factors such as lifestyle, diet and health of more than 560,000 AARP members between ages 50 and 71.

The participants submitted information from 1995 to 1996, and then sent follow-up data between 2004 and 2006. Researchers gathered the length of workouts as reported by the participants, who implemented different free weight routines and strength training machines into their normal exercise habits.

The study looked at the amount of time the participants added weight training, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and other resistance activities to their weekly exercise routines, from low weight training (5 minutes to 1.5 hours) to high weight training (1.5 hours to 10 hours). The researchers also accounted for other factors, such as BMI (body mass index), sex, race, smoking, age and more.

The results of the study revealed that the participants who took part in weightlifting routines, compared to those who did not lift, significantly lowered their risk of colon cancer and slightly reduced their risk of kidney cancer as well.

Other research showed that a single HIIT session can have immediate effects in reducing the growth of cancer cells in colon cancer survivors, and another study found that lifting weights as little as two times per week can reduce your chances of dying from cancer by 31 percent.

Beyond reducing the risk of cancer, weight and strength training have numerous other health benefits — including warding off heart disease, reducing belly fat, strengthening bones and helping control blood sugar.

The fitness experts at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness can help develop a weight training program that works for you and provide guidance on weight training techniques.

Learn more about cancer care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Related blog:

Does extra weight increase my risk for cancer?

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