Regular exercise has a number of benefits for our health and this includes decreasing the risk of various diseases. Researchers from the University of Copenhagen had uncovered that breast cancer is one of the many diseases it can combat. Since exercising leads to elevated heart levels and heavy breathing, it stimulates the production of catecholamines, which prevent the growth of breast cancer.
The researchers gathered 27 women volunteers and blood samples were collected from them. Out of these 27 volunteers, 20 women were undergoing post-surgery adjuvant chemotherapy for early-stage breast cancer, and seven were healthy women. Samples were taken from the volunteers 15 minutes before and after two hours of moderate to intense exercise. The serum obtained from the blood samples were then injected into experimental mice that had been implanted with human breast cancer tumors.
Results show that only 45 % of the mice exposed to the post-exercise serum developed tumors while on the other hand, in the control group that had not been injected with the serum, 90 percent of the mice developed tumors.
According to the researchers, they have identified the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine as the substances behind the anti-tumor activity.
They wrote in their study that:
“Both epinephrine (EPI) and norepinephrine (NE) could directly inhibit breast cancer cell viability, as well as tumor growth in vivo.”
Furthermore, they noted that the Hippo signaling pathway, which has been linked to cell proliferation and cell death, has been affected by the elevated levels of both substances.
The senior study author Pernille Hojman of the University of Copenhagen said:
“It is important to highlight that exercise training and epinephrine did not completely prevent tumor formation, but induced a 50 percent reduction. Thus, exercise training can never replace anti-cancer therapy, but could be an effective supportive strategy, which in addition to the biological effects, also has been shown to increase the patients’ quality of life and sense of empowerment.”
Effects Of Exercise On Cancer
Numerous positive health impacts on several cancer patients have been demonstrated by physical activity. These effects include but are not limited to:
- Improving the function and health of the immune system, which is the human body’s primary line of defense against diseases and infections.
- Decreasing the levels of hormones like estrogen and insulin wherein the elevated amounts of which have been linked to the development and progression of colon and breast. Women who are physically active after menopause were found to have a decreased risk of breast cancer as compared to those women who are not as active.
- Reducing inflammation, particularly chronic inflammation. Over long periods of time, this condition damages deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and can eventually lead to cancer.
- Preventing obesity and lowering the harmful effects that come with it, most notably insulin resistance. This is made even more likely with the presence of intra-abdominal fat, or fat deep within the abdomen. This is considered to be a risk factor for both high cholesterol and cancer.
On the contrary, it was believed that a sedentary lifestyle is a major risk for cancer and other chronic health conditions.
How Much Exercise Is Best?
For adults, the amount of exercise recommended is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, and 75 minutes of intense aerobic exercise, or a combination of the two every week.
Vigorous exercise would include jumping rope, swimming laps, singles tennis, jogging, aerobic dancing, and uphill hiking. Some of the moderate-intensity exercises are water aerobics, brisk walking, dancing, general gardening, and cycling at less than 10 miles an hour.