Category Archives: Exercise

Which Cancers Does Exercise Prevent?

Needs a bit more hormetic stress

“Would you spot me, bro?”

I’ve always assumed that exercise reduces the risk of cancer, contributing to the well-established fact that folks who exercise live longer than others.

But a recent study found a positive association between exercise and two cancers: melanoma and prostate. “Positive association” means the more you exercise, the higher your risk of melanoma and prostate cancer (if you have a prostate).

The good news is that exercise was linked to lower risk of 13 other cancers.

Here’s a quote for the New York Times Well blog:

The researchers found a reduced risk of breast, lung and colon cancers, which had been reported in earlier research. But they also found a lower risk of tumors in the liver, esophagus, kidney, stomach, endometrium, blood, bone marrow, head and neck, rectum and bladder.

And the reductions in risk for any of these 13 cancers rose steeply as people exercised more. When the researchers compared the top 10 percent of exercisers, meaning those who spent the most time each week engaging in moderate or vigorous workouts, to the 10 percent who were the least active, the exercisers were as much as 20 percent less likely to develop most of the cancers in the study.

I’m surprised the protective effect of exercise against cancer wasn’t stronger.

Action Plan

So how much physical activity does it take to prevent cancer? And what type of exercise? We await further studies for specific answers.

I’m hedging my bets with a combination of aerobic and strength training two or three times a week.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: If you think cancer’s bad, read one of my books. Wait, that didn’t come out right.

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Filed under cancer, Exercise

Turkish Get-Up

I’m going to start doing Turkish get-ups again. I fell out of the habit a couple years ago. Turkish get-ups promote flexibility, balance, joint range of motion, and strength. If you’re just doing the Big Five exercises, TGUs will strengthen some of the smaller muscles (and portions of major muscles) you may be neglecting.

Below are a couple YouTube examples. They are not complete tutorials. You can use a dumbbell or kettlebell. Start with either no weight in your hand, or just a small one. Then work up to higher weights as you get stronger.

These videos may only show how to work one side of the body; you work both sides, of course, and call it a pair. I used to do only five pairs with a 25-lb dumbbell. In weightlifting lingo, you’d call that 1 set of five reps (repetitions). It was exhausting.

Do enough reps and it will be both strength and aerobic training.

Steve Parker, M.D.


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Sure, Exercise Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, But How Much Does It Take?

Hop on and ride, ride, ride to prevent diabetes

Hop on and ride, ride, ride to prevent diabetes

Even if you have T2 diabetes already, share this post with someone who has prediabetes or risk of getting diabetes. You could save a life and prevent a lot of hassle.

“A new study, published this week in the journal Diabetologia, takes a deeper look at the role of exercise in the development of type 2 diabetes. It is the most in-depth study to examine exercise independent from other influential factors, such as diet. The conclusions from the report are clear: “This research shows that some physical activity is good, but more is better.” (says study co-author Dr. Soren Brage)

Currently, physical activity guidelines in the U.S. and the United Kingdom recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week; this could include cycling, walking, or sports. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fewer than 50 percent of American adults meet these recommendations.

The current study was a result of collaborative work between two institutions – University College London and the University of Cambridge, both of which are based in the U.K. Data from more than 1 million people was collated. In all, the team analyzed 23 studies from the U.S., Asia, Australia, and Europe.

***

According to the analysis, cycling or walking briskly for 150 minutes each week cuts the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 26 percent.

Those who exercise moderately or vigorously for an hour each day reduced their risk by 40 percent. At the other end of the scale, for those who did not manage to reach the 150 minute target, any amount of physical activity they carried out still reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes, but to a lesser extent.,

Source: Exercise vs. diabetes: New level of detail uncovered – Medical News Today

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: If you want to start an exercise program, my books will get you started.

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Filed under Causes of Diabetes, Exercise

Elders on a Weight-Loss Diet Preserve Bone Mineral Density With Resistance Training, Not Aerobic Exercise

according to an article at MedPageToday.

"One more rep then I'm outa here!"

“One more rep then I’m outa here!”

In the study at hand, the two experimental groups had about 60 participants each, so it was a relatively small study. (In general, the larger the study, the more reliable the findings.) Most participants were white women; mean age was 69. The experimental intervention ran for five months. An excerpt:

In one trial, the participants were randomized to a structured resistance training program in which three sets of 10 repetitions of eight upper and lower body exercises were done 3 days each week at 70% of one repetition maximum for 5 weeks, with or without calorie restriction of 600 calories per day.
In the second study, participants were randomized to an aerobic program which was conducted for 30 minutes at 65% to 70% heart rate reserve 4 days per week, with or without calorie restriction of 600 calories per day.

The beneficial bone effect was seen at the hip but not the lumbar spine. (I’ve treated lots of hip and lumbar spine fractures. If I’m going to break one of those bones, I’d rather it be the spine.)

Thin old bones—i.e., osteoporotic ones—are prone to fractures. Maintaining or improving bone mineral density probably prevents age-related fractures. In a five-month small study like this, I wouldn’t expect the researchers to find any fracture rate reduction; that takes years.

Most mainstream articles on prevention and treatment of osteoporosis mention “weight-bearing” exercises as what you should do, like walking, jogging, tai chi, and volleyball. The current study adds resistance training to our therapeutic armamentarium. Resistance training is also called weight training or strength training.  

Most elders starting a weight-training program should work with a personal trainer.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Strength Training Cuts the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease In Women

That's a dumbbell in her right hand. I work-out with those myself.

That’s a dumbbell in her right hand. I work-out with those myself.

I don’t have access to the full scientific report, but I’ve posted part of the abstract below.

The biggest problem with the study at hand is that physical activity apparently was surveyed only at the start of this 14-year study. Results would be much more robust if activity was surveyed every year or two. My overall activity level seems to change every two or three years. How about you?

Moving on.

“Compared to women who reported no strength training, women engaging in any strength training experienced a reduced rate of type 2 diabetes of 30% when controlling for time spent in other activities and other confounders. A risk reduction of 17% was observed for cardiovascular disease among women engaging in strength training. Participation in both strength training and aerobic activity was associated with additional risk reductions for both type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease compared to participation in aerobic activity only.

CONCLUSIONS: These data support the inclusion of muscle-strengthening exercises in physical activity regimens for reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, independent of aerobic exercise. Further research is needed to determine the optimum dose and intensity of muscle-strengthening exercises.”

PMID 27580152

Source: Strength Training and the Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease. – PubMed – NCBI

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Cardiovascular disease includes heart attack, cardiac death, stroke, coronary angioplasty, and coronary artery bypass grafting.

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Filed under Causes of Diabetes, Exercise, Heart Disease, Stroke

Fight Aging With Fish-Derived Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Cold-water fatty fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, trout, sardines, herring, and mackerel

Cold-water fatty fish loaded with omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, trout, sardines, herring, and mackerel

A daily fish oil supplement for six months improved muscle size and strength in a group of elderly folks.

Admittedly it was a small study but it was randomized and the only intervention applied was for the experimental group to take 1.86 grams of EPA and 1.5 grams of DHA daily for six months. The control group was given corn oil. Study participants were 60–85 years old. The specific form of the fish-derived fatty acids was a proprietary product called Lovaza.

Improved strength during aging should help with maintenance of independent daily activities and prevention of falls. In other words, these fatty acids are anti-aging. I’d like to see the study replicated with more study participants.

I don’t know if the study was paid for by Lovaza’s manufacturer, nor whether that would influence results.

This study supports my recommendation of cold-water fatty fish (great sources of omega-3 fatty acids) in all my diets:

Steve Parker, M.D.

 

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Filed under Exercise, Longevity

Physical Activity = Improved Blood Sugar

If you’ve let your exercise program slip, Kelley Pounds, RN, CDE, may motivate you to get back on the wagon. She writes:

“I often get folks asking me what they can do to lower their blood sugar when they are already very low in carbs. The first question I now ask is “what are you doing for exercise?” What I am finding is that most people are not exercising and have no desire to exercise. Believe me, I understand.”

“I’m going to admit, a couple months ago, I NEVER imagined exercise could be enjoyable. I pretty much hated it. And I had ALL the excuses, even valid ones, to NOT do it…I’m too tired, I don’t have time, I don’t like to exercise, I’m too weak, everything hurts, you name it, I had made every excuse for myself to avoid it.”

Source: Physical Activity = Improved Blood Sugar – Low Carb RN (CDE)

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