One study suggests that strength training can reduce some cancers, particularly bladder and kidney cancer. The research was carried out by researchers from the Paulista School of Medicine of the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) and the Faculty of Medicine of University of Sao Paulo (USP), in partnership with Harvard University, in the United States.
The work received funding from São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (Fapesp) and was published in the scientific journal British Journal of Cancer.
The authors used data from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, a cohort study with more than 30 thousand health professionals, to investigate whether the performance of muscle strength exercises, commonly practiced in gyms, functional training studios and crossfit, is associated with a lower risk of cancer.
The study participants were followed between 1992 and 2014, when they answered biennial questionnaires about the average weekly frequency of muscle strength exercise throughout the year, in addition to other risk and protective factors for cancer.
The authors concluded that muscle strength exercise was not associated with a lower total cancer incidence. However, it was possible to observe a 20% reduction in the risk of bladder cancer and 23% in kidney cancer for each hour of weekly increase in muscle strength exercise.
The study researchers also noted that participants who performed muscle strength exercise combined with aerobic physical activity had a greater reduction in the risk of kidney cancer compared to those who performed muscle strength exercise alone.