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A research reveals that increasing fitness may be associated with a 35% decreased risk of prostate cancer.

By Jennifer Feb 2, 2024

Increased cardiovascular activity may help men lower their risk of prostate cancer, according to a Swedish research.

Numerous studies have connected regular exercise to a decreased risk of cancer, but a recent study reveals that improving one’s physical fitness may be especially beneficial in lowering the chance of prostate cancer, which affects around 113 out of every 100,000 males in the United States each year.

Men whose cardiorespiratory fitness increased by 3% or more year during a five-year period, on average, had a 35% lower risk of developing prostate cancer than men whose cardiorespiratory fitness decreased by 3% annually, according to study published on Tuesday in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. That was true irrespective of the initial levels of fitness of the guys.

Put another way, according to Dr. William Oh, the chief medical officer of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, who was not involved in the research, it’s proof that “no matter what age, no matter where you are in your life or your relative fitness, that if you improve your fitness, even by a relatively small amount, you may significantly decrease your risk of developing prostate cancer.”

The ability of the heart and lungs to provide oxygen to the muscles during exercise is known as cardiorespiratory fitness.fitness

Researchers from the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences examined information from over 57,000 Swedish males who were registered in a health database as early as 1982 in order to conduct this study. During a minimum of two fitness tests, the men had to cycle a stationary bike and estimate their heart rate-based oxygen consumption during intense activity. A larger volume suggested a better degree of fitness.

Though each participant’s precise time differed, the tests were often administered years apart. After the men’s latest fitness tests were conducted, an average of seven years had elapsed. The researchers next examined whether the men had gotten prostate cancer.

According to co-author Kate Bolam, a researcher at the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, the findings showed that men might reduce their risk of prostate cancer by increasing their cardiorespiratory fitness via activities that raise their heart rates.

She said, “They want to aim for more intense activities, the kind of things we would do and find it difficult to carry on a conversation with a friend.” “If line dancing raises your heart rate and you find it enjoyable, you might want to consider doing it on a regular basis.”

Swimming, hiking, and jogging are other excellent choices.

Research on whether exercise reduced the incidence of prostate cancer has shown conflicting findings prior to the present study. According to Dr. June Chan, a professor of urology at the University of California, San Francisco, other variables may have influenced the findings of other studies that even suggested men with high levels of fitness had a tiny higher risk of prostate cancer.

“Those who exercise more often tend to follow other healthy lifestyle habits, such as getting screened for prostate cancer,” the expert said. “That might give the impression that there is a favorable association.”

Nevertheless, the Swedish researchers discovered that only men with intermediate fitness levelsβ€”that is, neither very high nor lowβ€”saw a decrease in the risk of prostate cancer when they took into consideration the men’s baseline fitness levels at the time of their first testing.

According to Bolam, there can be two causes for that: Over time, increasing one’s cardiorespiratory fitness may not provide any further advantages for very physically active individuals. Conversely, those who do not exercise may have other medical issues, such as obesity, that increase their risk of prostate cancer, and even modest increases in fitness may not be sufficient to reduce that risk.

Additionally, the researchers failed to discover a link between alterations in cardiorespiratory fitness and the chance of passing away from prostate cancer. They suggested that the research group may have had too few fatalities for a correlation to be seen.

Increasing cardiorespiratory fitness may reduce the overall chance of dying from cancer, according to other research. According to a research conducted last year, cancer patients’ overall risk of mortality was lowered when they engaged in at least 120 minutes of moderate activity or 40 minutes of intense exercise every week. (The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services usually suggests 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week, at least two of which should be spent engaging in muscle-building exercises.)

Chan’s earlier studies also shown that males with prostate cancer who exercised vigorously had better results. According to a 2011 research, engaging in intense exercise for at least three hours a week might significantly increase survival chances. In the same year, a different research discovered that walking quickly might prevent or slow the spread of cancer.

She said, “It led us to believe that there is significance to raising your heart rate.” Exercising may aid in weight reduction, enhance the body’s reaction to insulin, or lessen chronic inflammation, however the precise mechanism relating it to cancer risk is yet unclear.

Oh did point out, however, that being physically active is not the only risk factor for prostate cancer.

According to him, up to one-third of patients may really be at genuine hereditary risk, meaning that environmental factors and lifestyle choices account for the majority of the risk. “People often have little influence over their surroundings, and they frequently have no control over their genetic origins. Our way of living is essentially the only thing within our control.

By Jennifer

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