Here’s some added motivation to hit the gym: People who lift weights weekly have a 25 percent lower risk of developing colon cancer than those who don’t, according to a study published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Colon cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., so scientists at the National Cancer Institute are eager to get a handle on prevention, so they launched a longitudinal study including 215,122 participants. While the link between regular aerobic activity and cancer reduction is relatively well-known, the NCI wanted to investigate weight lifting, specifically, and how effective it is at fighting colon cancer.
Researchers found strength training about two hours per week reduced the risk of colon cancer even further. The reason: Developing more muscle helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels, which research shows is important in lowering the risk of common cancers.
While weight lifters saw a significantly lower risk of colon cancer, they also experienced a drop in a lower risk of kidney cancer when compared to subjects who didn’t lift. Combined with recent research about prebiotic foods and their relationship to cancer risk reduction, it’s clear that leading a fit and healthy lifestyle—with a bit of pumping iron thrown in for good measure—is the key to curbing your risk of cancer.