Another reason for guys to workout
Middle-aged men who want to decrease their risk for lung and colon cancers later in life should consider heading to the gym now, according to a new study.
Researchers reviewed the medical records of nearly 14,000 men age 65 and older who underwent treadmill tests a decade or two earlier. The men who were most fit at middle age had a 55-percent reduced risk of lung cancer later in life and their risk for colon cancer was 44-percent lower.
“I recommend regular exercise, especially aerobic exercises, which includes cardio, for protection against multiple problems,” says Dr. Adam Rubinstein, internal medicine physician at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, Ill. “I tell my patients this is not only important for their physical health, it’s also important for mental health and maintenance of proper sleep hygiene.”
The study found that approximately 1,310 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, 200 with lung cancer, and 181 with colon cancer. Researchers also found those who develop cancer are more likely to beat it if they are in shape when middle-aged.
There was not a lowered risk for prostate cancer, but those who did develop cancer had a 32-percent lower risk of dying from it.
Dr. Rubinstein, who is also the medical director of Advocate Health Care’s behavioral health service line, says the most beneficial exercises raise the heart rate and result in sweating and faster breathing.
Resistance training can also be aerobic exercise if a person engages in multiple repetitions to raise the heart rate and sustain it.
Researchers did not suggest reasons for their findings, but Dr. Rubinstein mentions that there are many factors the health community doesn’t understand that helps to explain this phenomenon.
“These are likely related to lower levels of inflammatory markers, lower levels of certain sex hormones and lower levels of obesity,” he says. “However, I believe the beneficial effects of exercise on neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and adrenaline, as well as elevations of endorphins, probably have independent benefits for mood and interactive benefits with hormones to lower the risk for cancer. It is also well-established that patients already treated for colon cancer who exercise regularly can lower their risk for recurrence.”
About the Author
Kathleen Troher, health enews contributor, is manager of public affairs and marketing at Advocate Good Sheperd Hospital in Barrington. She has more than 20 years of journalism experience, with her primary focus in the newspaper and magazine industry. Kathleen graduated from Columbia College in Chicago, earning her degree in journalism with an emphasis on science writing and broadcasting. She loves to travel with her husband, Ross. They share their home with a sweet Samoyed named Maggie.