Exercise Found to Reduce Colon Cancer Growth

Even just a short session of high intensity interval training saw a reduction in colon cancer tumors.
Loukia Papadopoulos

There is no doubt that exercise contributes to health and well being in countless ways. In fact, exercise has been shown to help prevent everything from high blood pressure to Alzheimer's


Reducing colon cancer cell growth

Now, new research is revealing that, even in short doses, it may aid in reducing the growth of colon cancer cells. The novel work found that even just a short session of high intensity interval training (HIIT) could contribute to the fight against colon cancer.

"We have shown that exercise may play a role in inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells. After an acute bout of HIIT there were specific increases in inflammation immediately after exercise, which are hypothesized to be involved in reducing the number of cancer cells," said James Devin, lead author on the research. 


The study by The University of Queensland in conjunction with the University of Waterloo, Ontario, followed colorectal cancer survivors that were made to complete either a single session of HIIT or 12 sessions over 4 weeks. The participants had blood samples collected immediately after a single session of exercise or at rest after 4 weeks of training.

Those samples were evaluated to study the growth of colon cancer cells. The researchers found that the changes following HIIT were significant enough to conclude that exercise may contribute to the fight against the difficult to treat cancer.

"This suggests that a physically active lifestyle may be important in tackling human colorectal tumours. We would now like to look at how these changes in growth occur and understand the mechanisms by which biomarkers in the blood can impact cell growth," Devin added.

The importance of regular exercise

It should be noted that the technique used to model the colon cancer cells in the laboratory is very different to how they grow in the human body. As such, more research is required to evaluate these effects on human tumors.

Still, the results remain significant enough to reinforce the importance of doing regular exercise. Furthermore, the study goes beyond the conventional thinking about exercise.

It has been assumed for a long time that exercise produces positive changes over a longer period. However, these new findings suggest that even a single session of HIIT sees a positive effect in the body.

The study is published in The Journal of Physiology.

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