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Health Club Management
2022 issue 10

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Leisure Management - Cancer takes a HIIT


Cancer takes a HIIT

HIIT reprogrammes internal organs to generate an exercise-induced metabolic shield against cancer metastasis, reducing risk by up to 72 per cent according to new research from Tel Aviv University

HIIT changes the function of organs, so they compete with muscles for glucose Photo: Les Mills grit

A new medical study from Tel Aviv University, Israel, has found that the risk of developing metastatic cancer drops by up to 72 per cent with regular, high-intensity aerobic exercise.

The study, An exercise-induced metabolic shield in distant organs blocks cancer progression and metastatic dissemination was led by Professor Carmit Levy and Dr Yftach Gepner and published in the Cancer Research journal.

It demonstrates how high-intensity aerobic exercise, which derives its energy from sugar, can significantly reduce the risk of metastatic cancer.

Impact of exercise on organs
Levy said “Our study is the first to investigate the impact of exercise on the internal organs in which metastases usually develop, such as the lungs, liver, and lymph nodes.

“Examining the cells of these organs we found a rise in the number of glucose receptors during high-intensity aerobic activity – increasing glucose intake and turning the organs into effective energy-consumption machines, very much like muscles.

“We assume this happens because organs compete for sugar resources with the muscles, which are known to burn large quantities of glucose during exercise.

“Consequently, if cancer develops, the fierce competition over glucose reduces the availability of energy that is critical to metastasis. Moreover, when a person exercises regularly, this condition becomes permanent: the tissues of internal organs change and become similar to muscle tissue.

“Exercise changes the whole body, so the cancer cannot spread and the primary tumor also shrinks,” said Levy.

Sugar-burning vs fat burning
“Our results indicate that unlike fat-burning exercise, which is relatively moderate, it is a high-intensity aerobic activity that helps in cancer prevention,” said Gepner. “If the optimal intensity range for burning fat is 65-70 per cent of the maximum heart rate, sugar burning requires 80-85 per cent – even if only for brief intervals. For example a one-minute sprint followed by walking, then another sprint. Our results suggest that healthy individuals should include high-intensity components in their fitness programmes.”

“It must be emphasised that physical exercise, with its unique metabolic and physiological effects, exhibits a higher level of cancer prevention than any medication or medical intervention to date,” said Gepner.

“We also believe future research studies will enable personalised medicine for preventing specific cancers,” he concluded.

More: www.HCMmag.com/TelAviv

Originally published in Health Club Management 2022 issue 10

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