AUG 02, 2023 9:00 AM PDT

Fitness Linked to Reduced Risk of Cancer and Heart Disease

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open has shown that higher cardiorespiratory fitness may reduce the risk of mortality from certain types of cancers, including lung, colon, and prostate cancer.

The study included over 177,000 Swedish men who were followed-up with for a mean of 9.6 years. Participants’ cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), and incidence and mortality from colon, lung, and prostate cancer was monitored during the follow-up period. The goal of the study was to determine the associations between these types of cancer and cardiorespiratory fitness, including any potential moderations based on age.

The results showed that higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with a lower risk of developing colon cancer and lung cancer. Additionally, higher cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with a lower risk of death from colon and prostate cancer and a lower risk of death from lung cancer in those over 60 years old. Interestingly, cardiorespiratory fitness seemed to be linked to an increased risk of developing prostate cancer, although higher fitness was linked to lower mortality from all three types of cancer. The authors noted that even after adjusting for other factors that impact cancer risk, the association between fitness and lower risk remained strong.

As many as 25% of cases of cancer are thought to be linked to unhealthy weight and sedentary lifestyles. In addition to its potential beneficial effects on cancer incidence and mortality, high cardiorespiratory fitness improves overall heart health and decreases the risk of developing heart disease. For these reasons, increasing cardiorespiratory fitness may be one of the best ways to improve both lifespan and healthspan in humans.

Sources: JAMA Network Open, MedicalNewsToday

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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