A lifestyle that simultaneously makes you leaner and fitter protects against cancer
The lifestyle that protects men - and probably women as well - against cancer, makes you not fatter, but leaner as you grow older, while maintaining or increasing your fitness levels. This is evident from an epidemiological study involving some 14,000 men, which appeared in 2014 in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
The researchers used the data from 13,930 men, who were collected between 1974 and 2002 in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study. In that study, sports scientists twice determined the men's BMI and fitness levels. Then they kept track of which men died as a result of cancer. When the study started, all men were healthy.
Men who became less fit were more likely to die as a result of cancer than men who maintained their condition or became fitter. Men who maintained their cardiovascular fitness, and simultaneously succeeded in getting leaner despite the climbing of the years, had the smallest chance of cancer.
"In conclusion, cardiorespiratory fitness change was an important predictor of cancer mortality in men", write the researchers. "Losing cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with a higher risk of premature deaths from cancer in men, regardless of BMI change."
"Improving or maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with a reduction in risk of cancer death. In addition, improving or maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness may attenuate some potentially negative effects of BMI gain on cancer mortality. Thus, more efforts need to be taken to maintaining or increasing cardiorespiratory fitness, which may also lead to a healthy lifestyle and longevity."
Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2014 Jul;46(7):1366-74.
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