Cancer patients benefit GREATLY from the right type of exercise, new research reveals
(NaturalHealth365) It’s safe to say that most American adults need to exercise more. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 80% of adults and adolescents fail to meet the daily recommended requirements for aerobic and/or muscle-strengthening exercise.
It’s a grim statistic, considering that the many physical and mental benefits of exercise are well-documented, including the prevention of health conditions such as heart disease, obesity and cancer.
Now, new research published in the Journal of Physiology offers yet another resounding call for the benefit of exercise, specifically high intensity interval training, or HIIT. Researchers have discovered that this specific type of exercise can do more than prevent cancer – which, to be clear, is a highly desirable effect!
HIIT can actually slow down tumor growth in people who have already been diagnosed.
AWEsome research results: A single HIIT session has positive effect on cancer cells
Research already shows physical activity improves outcomes for people with cancer. But in a just-published February 2019 study, researchers set out to determine how exactly exercise can offer this type of beneficial effect.
The researchers specifically wanted to understand how high intensity interval training, or HIIT, affected people with colon cancer.
HIIT is defined as periods of short bursts of high intense exercise followed by periods of rest. And, for their study, the researchers had 20 colon cancer survivors participate in HIIT exercise sessions.
One exercise session was defined as 4 by 4 minutes of work performed at 85–95% peak heart rate. The researchers then measured blood serum levels in these participants.
Half of the participants had their serum levels checked immediately before, immediately after, and 120 minutes after a HIIT session. The other half of the participants had their serum levels checked before the intervention and 4 weeks later (after 12 sessions).
The authors found something promising: In the blood samples taken immediately after a HIIT session (but not while at rest 120 minutes later), the number of colon cancer cells decreased and the number of cytokines (immune cells that help fight off infection and modulate inflammation) increased, including a cytokine called tumor necrosis factor-alpha (necrosis means cell death).
The authors sum up their major takeaway as follows: “Repetitive exposure to these acute effects [of HIIT training] may contribute to the relationship between exercise and improved colorectal cancer survival.”
In other words, if you participate in HIIT exercise regularly, you’ll get repeated exposure to the beneficial immune system changes which are present immediately after your workout is done! This is good news whether you’re currently being treated from cancer or simply trying to prevent it.
How to get more HIIT into your weekly exercise routine
Only 1 in 3 Americans get the recommended physical activity each week (even though gym memberships have been climbing steadily over the past two decades).
But while modern life may seem ill-suited to a life of exercise and movement (we sit in chairs all day and too often plug into television and social media), adding in a few HIIT sessions to your week is relatively easy:
- They don’t require a lot of time. Done correctly, you can get a great workout done in 4 minutes or less.
- They don’t require a lot of equipment. You can use simple bodyweight movements done in your own living room.
- They’ll accelerate weight loss to boot. You burn a large amount of calories during AND after a HIIT session, thanks to a phenomenon known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). The higher the exercise intensity, the greater the EPOC effect.
So while HIIT sessions are challenging, they’ll be over quickly – and they’re as effective as they are short-lived, making them a great bang for your buck!
Just remember we always recommend speaking with your physician before starting a new exercise routine.
Sources for this article include: