As if we needed another incentive to exercise, scientists have found that fitness can help prevent one of the most common forms of cancer. Physical activity has been linked to breast cancer prevention. A 2017 study found that fitness and exercise can lower risk of breast cancer.
According to The New York Times, “many studies have established that people with high fitness are at lower risk for a wide range of diseases, including many types of cancer. But whether their disease protection results from regular exercise or from a fortunate genetic heritage — or both — has been unclear.”
Researchers at Colorado State University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and the University of Michigan published a new study in Carcinogenesis journal that focuses on breast cancer. That study found:
Although regular physical activity is associated with improvement in aerobic capacity and lower breast cancer risk, there are heritable sets of traits that affect improvement in aerobic capacity in response to physical activity. Although aerobic capacity segregates risk for a number of chronic diseases, the effect of the heritable component on cancer risk has not been evaluated. Therefore, we investigated breast carcinogenesis in rodent models of heritable fitness in the absence of induced physical activity.
In essence, the study showed that rats with low natural fitness were four times more likely to develop breast cancer compared to rats with high fitness. While the study involved rats, scientists have theorized that it affects humans the same.
Fitness and active lifestyles have long been known to stave off disease. Everyone has their own fitness capacity, the higher of which helps combat disease. Now it is known that humans can increase their fitness capacity, meaning the more people exercise, the more their body is equipped to ensure good health.
According to the New York Times, this study hopes future experiments will be able to quantify how much exercise will be needed to lower cancer risk. In the meantime, knowing that an active lifestyle can ward off disease is just another reason to engage in regular exercise. And Americans seem to increasingly understand the benefits of an active lifestyle. More and more Americans are embracing the active lifestyle, creating a new generation of health-conscious consumers known as Generation Active.