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High-Intensity Exercise May Reduce Your Risk of Cancer, New Study Suggests

Up your workout, and decrease your metastatic cancer risk by 72%.

If you have your aerobic routine down pat, kudos to you! A brand new study conducted by the Israel Center for Disease Control and the Nutrition Department of the Israeli Ministry of Health, and published in the journal Cancer Research, reveals that high-intensity aerobic exercise may reduce your risk of cancer. Listen carefully, because this news is big!

Just how big? According to the National Cancer Institute Division of Cancer Control & Population Sciences, there are over 623,000 individuals in the U.S. who are dealing with metastatic breast, bladder, colorectal, prostate, or lung cancer, or metastatic melanoma. By 2025, this number is predicted to rise to more than a whopping 693,000 people.

A new study suggests high-intensity aerobic exercise can lower your risk of metastatic cancer.

woman doing a high-intensity cardio workout with dumbbells

As it turns out, the research reveals that performing high-intensity aerobic exercise can lower your chance of developing metastatic cancer, according to lead researchers of the study, Yftach Gepner, Ph.D., and Carmit Levy, Ph.D. Dr. Gepner explained, "Physical exercise, with its unique metabolic and physiological effects, exhibits a higher level of cancer prevention than any medication or medical intervention to date."

Both of the researchers pointed out that the general public has been told thus far to be healthy and active. This new study can extend that message to include performing aerobic exercise, to optimize the prevention of "the most aggressive and metastatic types of cancer."

RELATED: Exercising This Much Could Prevent Multiple Types of Cancer, New Study Finds

This is the first study of its kind to observe the positive effect exercise has on internal organs that are more likely to metastasize.

The study observed 3,000 participants over a 20-year timeframe, according to Tel Aviv University. The individuals who performed regular high-intensity exercise were found to have a 72% decrease in metastatic cancer when compared to participants who did not work out.

Professor Levy explained, "Our study is the first to investigate the impact of exercise on the internal organs in which metastases usually develop, like the lungs, liver, and lymph nodes." Dr. Gepner added, "Our results indicate that unlike fat-burning exercise, which is relatively moderate, it is a high-intensity aerobic activity that helps in cancer prevention. If the optimal intensity range for burning fat is 65-70% of the maximum pulse rate, sugar burning requires 80 to 85%—even if only for brief intervals."

Healthy individuals should include high-intensity exercises in their workouts.

The example Dr. Gepner provided is a one-minute sprint, walking, then sprinting again. Previously, intervals such as this were usually part of a professional training routine. Present-day, intervals like this are common exercise regimens used during lung and heart rehabilitation. "Our results suggest that healthy individuals should also include high-intensity components in their fitness programs. We believe that future studies will enable personalized medicine for preventing specific cancers, with physicians reviewing family histories to recommend the right kind of physical activity."

Alexa Mellardo
Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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