There are a lot of insights coming from three major exercise intervention studies. The studies, presented by exercise physiologist Dr. Kathryn Schmitz are the findings of Dr. Anne McTiernan (she was sick), whose goal is to better understand how aerobic interventions affect signs of cancer in the body in middle aged to older adults.
Here’s a great one: Women meet 80% of their exercise goal, and it doesn’t matter what the goal is – high or low.
Other conclusions from the studies: gender matters. We don’t know why yet, said Dr. Schmitz, but men and women show different results. And also, people need a good pair of sneakers.
Here’s what the science shows: physical activity reduces cancer risk independent of body weight. So, what’s going on, asked Henry Thompson, PhD, a researcher at Colorado State University.
Dr. Thompson spoke energetically about the possible compounds that may be released when muscles contract and the effects of these compounds on cancer development.
One of the more interesting findings: more is not necessarily better. Extrapolating from his lab’s animal studies, if you were to use the health recommendation of 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activity, there was definite protection in the 50-60 minute range. When they went much above that, said Dr. Thompson, they saw a loss of some of that activity.
Even with all its benefits, Dr. Thompson reminded us that physical activity is a “stress” on the body. And to reinforce just how challenging this research area is, he points out that even rats and mice react differently to stress.
It’s the last afternoon of the research conference and this session is all about physical activity. Tim Byers, MD, an epidemiologist at University of Colorado at Denver starts it off showing that some of the best evidence linking physical activity to lower cancer risk stems from AICR/WCRF’s 2007 expert report. The report conducted a systematic literature review of the evidence relating to physical activity and cancer risk. (Dr. Byers was a panel member on the report.)
The last couple years have only added to the evidence linking physical activity to lower cancer risk.
One of the more interesting findings, said Dr. Byers, was that physical activity was linked to substantially reducing cancer risk regardless of BMI. Physical activity – of all types — was found to reduce the risk of colon, breast, and endometrial cancers.
Fun Fact: Washington, DC –where AICR’s research conference is happening – ranked as the number one fittest city in America, according to American College of Sports Medicine. Visit here to to see where your city ranks.
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