High-Intensity Exercise Can Aid in the Fight Against Colon Cancer

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The many health benefits of exercise certainly aren’t a secret — lower blood pressure, improved feelings of well-being, and so much more... And, now, even more! A study published in The Journal of Physiology suggests high-intensity interval training, or HIIT — cardio workouts that include short bursts at maximum effort followed by less intense recovery periods — may slow the growth of colon cancer cells.

Researchers from The University of Queensland in Australia and the University of Waterloo in Ontario took blood samples and looked at cancer cell growth in two groups of patients with colorectal cancer (that is, cancer of the colon or rectum): One group completed a single session of HIIT and the other group participated in 12 sessions over a four-week period.

After HIIT workouts, they found, there are higher levels of certain blood markers of inflammation, which may indicate lower levels of cancer cells. They speculate that a physically active lifestyle could play an important role in fighting colorectal cancer. Though the results are promising, the researchers caution that they examined cancer cell growth in a lab setting and not in actual tumors in the body.