Cancer Training: Professor Explains How to Lower Your Risk in 10 Minutes

Immediate effect after the first time: anticancer training: sports teacher tells you how to reduce your risk in 10 minutes

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

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Anyone who plays sports stays healthier in the long run, especially when it comes to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Cancer patients who are physically active as much as possible also strengthen their psyche and are often better able to cope with the disease and chemotherapy than those who are inactive. But could sport also be an effective measure to prevent cancer, like eating well and not smoking? More and more studies show that sport 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 investigating this topic. FOCUS Online told you about the influence of exercise on cancer risk.

FOCUS Online: How much does sport protect against cancer and does it affect basically all forms of cancer?

Martin Room: Studies show that the preventive effect of sport is around 25 percent. Consequently, the risk of cancer is reduced on average by a quarter. Regular physical training has a particularly strong preventive effect on certain forms of cancer – these are the three most common

  • so colon cancerwhich is often referred to simply as colon cancer
  • that breast cancerthat is, breast cancer, so
  • prostate canceralong with a few others.

When it comes to colon cancer risk factors, everyone immediately thinks of nutrition: too much meat, hot dogs, hardly any fiber. How risky is lack of exercise?

Living: Diet certainly has a big impact on colorectal cancer. But much more important in prevention is physical training and, of course, not smoking.

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What about breast cancer and prostate cancer?

Living: In the case of breast cancer, the greatest risk factors are obesity and lack of exercise, as well as insulin-resistant metabolism and diabetes. In relation to prostate cancer, lack of exercise has also been shown to be a risk factor, but has not yet been studied as well as it is with the two most common types of cancer: colon cancer and breast cancer.

But if you do a lot of sport, do you tend to live healthier in general?

Living: A factor that certainly plays a role and should not be overlooked. However, if the risk factors are considered in a differentiated way and the cancer figures are statistically analyzed, the great preventive effect of sport is clearly established.

The two most common noncommunicable diseases, namely 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 physical activity can protect against cancer, what happens in the cells?

Living: These mechanisms are becoming increasingly well known. A particularly good example is colon cancer: today, we understand muscles and bones as organs that release numerous messenger substances during physical activity. Below, myokines originate from muscle and osteocins from bone. Myokines, in turn, reach many other organ systems through the blood, including the intestinal mucosa. Here, special messenger substances demonstrably prevent the formation of polyps. Myokin SPARC, short for Cysteine-Rich Acidic Secreted Protein, plays an important role in this.

about the expert

Martin Halle is the 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 runs a large preventive cardiology and sports medicine outpatient clinic at the Rechts der Isar University Hospital. His specialty is the prevention, therapy and rehabilitation of internal diseases, especially cardiovascular diseases.

Do myokines also protect against breast cancer?

Living: There are also these mechanisms in breast cancer that are set in motion by sport. However, the messenger substance responsible has not yet been identified. The pathway presumably goes through metabolism and insulin resistance, the inflammatory response and the immune system, and fatty acids. For protection against breast cancer, this means: Prevention has three elements

  • Do sports
  • stay slim
  • correct nutrition.

How much time should we invest so that we can prevent cancer with sport?

Living: Cancer prevention is successful when the muscles are addressed. This can be achieved with resistance and strength training. To stimulate the bones, I need strength and impact training, like jogging with my feet on them.

As a general rule of thumb: If I activate my muscles and bones for 20 minutes a day with a combination of strength and resistance training, I’m on the safe side in terms of prevention. However, a certain intensity must also be achieved. So jogging is better than walking. Only then does the release of myokin begin.

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So, would you rather be short and sweet and sweat like your 7-minute workout than go for a brisk walk for hours?

Living: Yes, the exercises are very intense and if you do this every day you will have achieved a lot. You should see this as an account to fund: Do these seven exercises every day: jumping jacks, sit-ups, planks, leg extensions, etc. This can be implemented and anyone can invest it in total, probably ten minutes. And if I don’t do it one day, I should do it the next day so that the daily count of 10 minutes is correct again.

How important are popular endurance sports like swimming or cycling as a preventive measure against cancer?

Living: Swimming is not that effective in terms of cancer prevention. Cycling does, however, because it activates the muscles. However, because the shock effect is low when cycling, hardly any osteokines are formed. However, it is good for obese people, for example, because it only puts little pressure on the knees.

Naturally, both types of sport also have other beneficial effects on health: vascular tone, the cardiovascular system and metabolism. However, with regard to cancer prevention, the following applies: short but intensive sessions particularly stimulate the formation of the messenger substances in the muscles and bones that protect against cancer.

Don’t longer drives, like a weekly workout or a hike up the mountain, have to be there?

Living: On the contrary. Also, they are a good thing because they strongly stimulate myokines and the immune system. They act as cancer boosters and are very important!

If I start training today (jogging, weight training, intensive exercise), when will the cancer protection start?

Living: It’s just not like losing weight, another important preventive measure, where the results only appear after weeks and the protective effect only starts then. The good news: the effect begins with the first workout, as soon as the muscles and bones are stressed. Both immediately form the protective messenger substances.

And what effects can too much exercise have in terms of cancer risk? Is it well known by competitive athletes that they may be at increased risk of infection due to intensive training?

Living: According to studies, this does not play a role in relation to tumor diseases. On the contrary: when it comes to cancer prevention, more training is better than less.

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