Categories: Health & Fitness

Doing 20 minutes of this sport a day would reduce the risk of cancer with metastases

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Practicing an endurance or cardio sport, such as running or swimming, for 20 minutes every day could reduce the risk of cancer with metastases, report Israeli researchers.

Numerous studies* have repeatedly shown that sport can reduce the appearance and development of cancers such as breast cancer or colorectal cancer. But a new study conducted by Israeli researchers and published in the journal cancer-research goes further and specifies that endurance or cardio sports are best able to prevent cancer progression and development of metastases, cancer cells that have migrated to other organs. Metastases (also known asstage 4 cancer) are the leading cause of cancer-related mortality.

Favorite endurance sports

The researchers analyzed a cohort of more than 3,000 people for nearly 20 years. They realized that people who regularly did aerobic physical activityin other words, an endurance or cardio sport were at risk of developing metastatic cancer reduced by 72% compared to sedentary people. Aerobic sport is a type of exercise that can be maintained for an extended period. It is very effective in building endurance and strengthening the heart and lungs. These are for example:

These sports increase oxygen consumption (O2) and heart rate. When you practice these sports, the muscles require a significant amount of nutrients (glucose or “sugar”)which leads to reduced nutrient availability for cancerous (or tumourous) cells which can then no longer develop. In fact, cancer cells need a sustained energy supply to ensure their growth and their replication in the organism, very often in the form of glucose (that’s what we call the Warburg effectdemonstrated in several scientific studies including one conducted by theCancer Research Institute of Montpelliersee diagram below).

Diagram of glucose metabolism in normal cell and cancer cell © designua – 123RF/Journal of Women’s Health

20 minutes of sport per day for 2 months

The results of this study were then confirmed in an animal model of mice with melanoma, one of the cancers with a high metastatic potential. These mice were subjected to an exercise protocol aerobicsi.e. high-speed carousel sessions for 20 minutes every day during two months. At the end of the study, the researchers observed in these mice a decrease in metastases in the lungs, lymph nodes and liver compared to sedentary mice. This discovery could represent a potential axis of research in the prevention of metastatic cancers.


* Studies conducted for example by the World Cancer Research Fund International

– An exercise-induced metabolic shield in distant organs blocks cancer progression and metastatic spread, 15 November 2022, Cancer Research

– The Warburg effect, Med Sci (Paris) 2013; 29: 1026–1033, Cancer Research Institute of Montpellier, Inserm U896, 208, rue des Apothicaires, 34298 Montpellier, France

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