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Anti-cancer training: Professor says how to reduce your risk in 10 minutes

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Anti-cancer training: Professor says how to reduce your risk in 10 minutes

Sports professor explains: With anti-tumor training you can reduce your risk of cancer in 10 minutes

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Exercise is also one of the weapons against cancer. Not only as sports therapy for cancer patients, but also as a demonstrable preventive measure, so that malignant tumors do not develop in the first place. Medicine professor Martin Halle explains which sport and how much of it has the best effect.

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Those who are physically active stay healthier in the long term, especially with regard to cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. Cancer patients who are physically active as much as possible also strengthen their psyche and can often cope with illness and chemotherapy better than those who are inactive. But could exercise also be an effective measure for cancer prevention – like eating right and not smoking? More and more research shows that exercise can also protect against cancer.

Martin Halle, senior medical director of the chair and polyclinic for preventive and rehabilitative sports medicine at the Medical Faculty of the Technical University of Munich, is researching this topic. FOCUS online spoke to him about the influence of exercise on the risk of cancer.

FOCUS online: How much does sport protect against cancer and does it basically affect every form of cancer?

Martin Hall: The studies show that the preventive effect of sport is around 25 percent. The risk of cancer falls on average by a quarter. Regular physical training has a particularly significant preventive effect on certain forms of cancer – these are the three most common

also Colonkrebs which is commonly referred to simply as colon cancer Breast cancer i.e. breast cancer, as well
Prostate cancer plus a few others.

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When it comes to the risk factors for colon cancer, everyone immediately thinks of diet – too much meat, sausage, hardly any fiber. How risky is lack of exercise?

Halle: Diet certainly has a major influence on colon cancer. But much more important in prevention is physical training and of course not smoking.

And what about breast cancer and prostate cancer?

Halle: The biggest risk factors for breast cancer are obesity and lack of exercise, as well as metabolism with insulin resistance and diabetes. Too little exercise has also been proven to be a risk factor in connection with prostate cancer, but it has not yet been studied as well as with the two most common types of cancer – colon and breast cancer.

But those who exercise a lot also tend to live a healthier life overall?

Halle: A factor that certainly plays a role and should not be overlooked. However, if the risk factors are considered in a differentiated manner and the cancer numbers are analyzed statistically, the major preventative effect of sport is clearly established.

The two most common non-communicable diseases – i.e. cancer, but also cardiovascular diseases – overlap here. Regular exercise protects against cancer, but also against vascular diseases such as high blood pressure and its consequences.

Why can physical activity protect against cancer, what happens in the cells?

Halle: These mechanisms are becoming more and more understood. A particularly good example is colon cancer: we now see muscles and bones as organs that emit numerous messenger substances during physical activity. Below that, myokines come from the muscle and osteokines from the bone. The myokines reach many other organ systems via the blood, including the intestinal mucosa. Here, the special messenger substances have been proven to prevent the formation of polyps. The myokine SPARC, the abbreviation stands for Secreted protein acidic and rich in cysteine, plays an important role in this.

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About the expert

Martin Halle is senior medical director of the chair and polyclinic for preventive and rehabilitative sports medicine at the Medical Faculty of the Technical University of Munich. He is a specialist in internal medicine, cardiology and sports medicine and heads a large outpatient clinic for preventive cardiology and sports medicine at the Rechts der Isar University Hospital. His specialty is the prevention, therapy and rehabilitation of internal diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases.

Do myokines also protect against breast cancer?

Halle: These mechanisms also exist in breast cancer and are set in motion by exercise. But the responsible messenger substance has not yet been identified. The pathway probably runs through metabolism and insulin resistance, inflammatory response and immune system as well as fatty acids. What this means for protection against breast cancer: Prevention consists of the triad

Exercise, stay slim, eat right.

How much time should we invest in preventing cancer through exercise?

Halle: Cancer prevention is successful when the muscles are addressed. This can be achieved with endurance and strength training. In order to stimulate the bone, I need strength and impact training – like when jogging by putting my foot down.

As a rule of thumb: If I activate my muscles and bones for 20 minutes a day with a combination of strength and endurance training, I am on the safe side when it comes to prevention. But a certain intensity must also be achieved. So jogging is better than walking. Only then does myokine release start.

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The 10-week program – Martin Halle

So would you rather do something short and sweet and work up a sweat like your 7-minute workout than go for a brisk walk for hours?

Halle: Yes, the exercises are very intense and if you do them every day you will have achieved a lot. You should see this like an account you’re depositing into: Do these seven exercises every day: jumping jacks, crunches, planks, leg extensions, etc. This is possible and anyone can actually invest these ten minutes in total. And if I can’t do it one day, I should do it the next day so that the daily 10-minute account is correct again.

How important are popular endurance sports, swimming or cycling, as a preventative measure against cancer?

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Halle: Swimming is not that effective in terms of cancer prevention. But cycling does because it activates the muscles. Because the impact of cycling is low, hardly any osteokines are formed. Nevertheless, it is good for obese people because it puts little strain on the knees.

Of course, both sports also have other, beneficial effects on health – vascular tone, cardiovascular system, metabolism. When it comes to cancer prevention, however, the following applies to one common denominator: short but intensive sessions particularly stimulate the formation of messenger substances that protect against cancer in muscles and bones.

So longer sessions, such as a weekly workout or a mountain tour, don’t have to be necessary?

Halle: On the contrary. They are also a good thing because they strongly stimulate myokines and the immune system. They act like boosters against cancer and are really important!

If I start training today – jogging, strength training, intensive exercises – when will cancer protection kick in?

Halle: This is not like losing weight, another important preventative measure – where results only become apparent after weeks and the protective effect only then begins. The good news: The effect starts with the first training session, as soon as the muscles and bones are stressed. Both immediately form protective messenger substances.

And what effects can too much training have in terms of cancer risk? It is well known that competitive athletes are at greater risk of infection due to intensive training?

Halle: According to the studies, this plays no role when it comes to tumor diseases. On the contrary: when it comes to cancer prevention, more training is better than less.

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