Fitness buffer

If this doesn’t get you to the gym, I don’t know what will.

According to a new study of more than 17,000 men, cardio-respiratory fitness (CRF) offers a good indication of cancer risk–and also risk of dying from cancer.

Researchers looked at links between fitness levels and rates of prostate, lung, and colorectal cancer. They also tracked later mortality rates among the men diagnosed with cancer.

The results were impressive, to say the least.

Among the most fit men, lung cancer risk dropped by 68 percent. And colorectal cancer risk dropped by 38 percent.

That’s not all. On the other side of the spectrum, this study’s authors also found that less fit men had a higher risk of cancer and heart disease–even if they weren’t obese.

But even relatively minor improvements in fitness levels led to a 14 percent reduction in cancer mortality. Not to mention a 23 percent reduction in heart disease death.

The conclusion: Fitness strongly predicts the risk of lung and colorectal cancer in older men. And it’s a pretty good indication of mortality risk among these men, too.

This is all pretty fascinating, isn’t it? I mean, we’ve known for ages that physical fitness slashes risk of heart disease–so no news there. But any study that pits physical fitness against cancer raises the stakes into an entirely new level.

It’s hard to argue with these results. Or to make any excuse not to exercise.

So I guess the real take home message from this is that everyone can live a longer, healthier life. You simply need to get moving.

Fat or thin–it doesn’t matter. After all, thin people still get disease.

I know I often harp on the risks of being overweight. But that doesn’t mean I’m letting anyone off the hook. And I hope you realize that what I write in this space applies to everyone, regardless of the numbers on the scale.

Good nutrition and regular exercise are essential for all of us. And consistency in both arenas is the only solution that really works.

Being Fit Can Protect Against Developing, Dying of Cancer. Medscape. May 16, 2013.