The list of benefits from exercise seems to grow every day. Recently, a study out of Denmark, published in the journal Cell Metabolism, found that exercise may fight cancer. While it may seem intuitive that the improved health that comes along with exercise may help to prevent cancer, researchers have grappled with the notion that in the short term, exercise can increase inflammation in the body, which some say can increase cancer risks. According to a New York Times article about the new research, investigators set out “to better understand how exercise can both elevate inflammation and simultaneously protect the body against cancer,” by examining how mice who run regularly may fight cancer off. The found that the blood of the running mice “contained more adrenaline,…and more natural killer cells than did the blood of the sedentary mice,” allowing the mice to fight the cancer, and that these benefits outweighed the short-term presence of local inflammation.
While more research needs to be done to discover if these benefits of exercise also help humans fight cancer, this study definitely provides another motivating reason to get up and move!
You can read a summary of the study design and results in this New York Times article.
Debbie Turczan is a Physical Therapist specializing in Craniosacral Therapy, with offices in New York City and Long Island.