Improved Fitness Could Lower Prostate Cancer Risk by Up to 35 Percent

Men who improve their cardiorespiratory fitness levels won’t just have an easier time pushing through hard workouts. A new study suggests that they may also be able to reduce their risk of prostate cancer.

For the study, researchers examined data on more than 57,000 men in Sweden who completed multiple cardio fitness tests several years apart to measure their heart rate and how efficiently their body used oxygen during workouts on a stationary bike. They were 41 years old on average and had no history of prostate cancer when they joined the study. After an average follow-up period of almost seven years, 592 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

While their initial cardio fitness levels didn’t appear to influence their risk of prostate cancer, changes in fitness over time did make a difference. Men whose cardiorespiratory fitness levels improved by at least 3 percent annually over five years were 35 percent less likely on average to develop prostate cancer during the study period, according to study results published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

“Cardiorespiratory fitness essentially refers to how well our circulatory and respiratory systems are able to supply oxygen to our muscles during physical activity or exercise,” says lead study author Kate Bolam, PhD, of the Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences in Stockholm.

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