Cancer is the blanket term applied to diseases caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. The group of diseases is characterised by their ability to grow out of control, which is why finding a cure for cancer still eludes many scientists today. Researchers believe that by combining strengthening training with aerobic exercises, cancer patients could significantly lower their risk of dying from the killer disease.
Aerobic exercise, is exercise that speeds up the heart rate and breathing, giving the heart and lungs a workout and increasing endurance.
Strength training helps build muscle mass, stimulate bone growth, lower blood sugar and assist with weight control.
Leandro Rezende, professor in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Federal University of Sao Paulo’s Medical School, noted that most of the existing research on exercise and cancer prevention focuses mainly on aerobic activities.
He explained that strengthening exercise, on the other hand, is typically part of workouts designed to build muscle mass and treat specific health problems.
He said: “Physical activity has been associated with a reduced risk of several types of cancer, but it was unclear what kinds of exercise had the best results.
“In our study, we found evidence that muscle strength training can not only resume cancer incidence and mortality but also have an even better effect when associated with aerobic activities, such as walking, running, swimming and cycling.
For the analysis, Rezende and his team carried out a review of 12 studies which examined nearly 1.3 million people over the course of six to 25 years.
They found that resistance workouts, such as squats, rowing, planks, and weight training, can lower the risk of death from cancer by up to 14 percent.
When combining this exercise with aerobic exercise, the risk of death is further reduced to 28 percent.
The team also observed that training twice a week could protect against cancer altogether.
The findings echoed a 2016 study, which found that people with the highest levels of physical activity had lower rates of cancer of the oesophagus, lung, kidney, colon, head and neck, rectum, bladder and breast cancer, compared with people with the lowers levels of fitness.
Rezende corroborated the recommendations of the World Health Organisation regular aerobic exercise for adults, which is 150-300 minutes of moderately intense exercise per week, 75-150 minutes of vigorous exercise or an equivalent combination, and strengthening exercises twice a week.
Rezende added: “The WHO’s recommendations for weekly exercise are based on a number of benefits to health from physical activity, and our review of the literature showed that a reduced risk of dying from cancer is another benefit.
“Four years ago, we conducted a study that associated strength training with a reduced risk of cancer.
“Meanwhile, other studies have been published, and we thought it would be interesting to undertake a systematic review of this literature in order to appraise all the evidence of this relationship.
“However, we went further to show that the benefits of muscle strengthening exercises in terms of reducing cancer incidence and mortality can be magnified when they’re combined with aerobic exercises.”
Each kind of cancer is usually named after the cells in which it begins.
The onset of cancer usually begins as a solitary tumour in a specific area of the body. If the tumour is not removed, cancer has the ability to move to nearby organs, and well as places far away from the origin.
The process of cancer spreading across the body is known as metastasis, which is what makes the disease so difficult to cure.
Although symptoms of cancer will vary depending on what part of the body is affected, the Mayo Clinic lists some general signs associated with the disease:
Lump or area of thickening that can be felt under the skin
Skin changes, such as yellowing, darkening or redness of the skin
Changes in bowers or bladder habits
Persistent cough and trouble breathing
Persistent, unexplained fevers or night sweats