Being Physically Fit In Your Youth Lowers 9 Types Of Cancer Risks: Study Reveals

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Did you know that being physically fit when you’re younger can actually lower your risk of certain cancers later in life? It’s true! Let’s dive into this fascinating research.

Did You Know Being Physically Fit In Youth Linked to Lower Cancer Risk?

New research suggests that maintaining good physical fitness during youth can significantly reduce the risk of developing nine different types of cancer, particularly in men.

Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the study is based on a large-scale investigation involving over 1 million men who underwent a military fitness test at approximately 18 years old.

The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, focused on cardiorespiratory fitness levels among young men and their subsequent cancer diagnoses over 33 years. The fitness test involved stationary cycling, starting at a low resistance and increasing gradually until exhaustion.

Participants were categorized into three groups based on their cardiorespiratory fitness levels: low, moderate, and high. Cardiorespiratory fitness reflects the capacity of the circulatory and respiratory systems to provide oxygen to muscles during physical activity.

The findings showed that individuals with high cardiorespiratory fitness had a significantly lower risk of developing nine specific types of cancer later in life, including head and neck, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, liver, bowel, kidney, and lung cancers.

The risk reduction for head and neck cancer was 19%, kidney cancer 20%, and lung cancer 42%, although the latter was attributed to smoking habits.

Remarkably, higher fitness levels were associated with nearly 40% lower risks for gastrointestinal cancers, such as esophagus, liver, bile ducts, gallbladder, and approximately 20% lower risks for stomach and colon cancers, surprising researchers.

However, the study also found a 7% higher risk of prostate cancer and a 31% higher risk of skin cancer among those with higher fitness levels, possibly influenced by factors like prostate cancer screenings and sunlight exposure.

It’s important to note that this study is observational and cannot establish direct causal relationships. Lifestyle factors like diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, and changes in cardiorespiratory fitness were not fully accounted for.

This research reinforces the connection between cardiorespiratory fitness and cancer risk reduction, highlighting the potential for public health interventions to promote fitness among youth.

Previous studies have also suggested that even short bursts of vigorous physical activity or as little as 11 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise daily can lower the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and premature death among individuals.

In conclusion, maintaining high cardiorespiratory fitness during youth appears to offer substantial protection against multiple cancer types, emphasizing the importance of promoting physical fitness for long-term health benefits.

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