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Running vs. Tumors

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Daily Exercise May Reduce Tumor Incidence and Growth 

We admit it: Running isn’t easy for everyone, but the potential health benefits could be worth the sweat and strain. European research gives us another reason to lace up and hit the pavement, finding running may help to reduce tumor occurrence and growth. 

In the 2016 study, published in Cell Metabolism, daily running was able to inhibit tumor onset and progression in laboratory mice. The greatest benefit came when the running regimen before tumor onset—up to 61% reduced tumor growth with four weeks of prior running. 

Lab work found that exercise, in this case running, increases production of natural killer (NK) cells, components of the immune system that identify and destroy harmful tumor cells. NK cells act early and can act as a “spark” to activate other immune cells to help fight invaders. It’s likely because exercise triggers epinephrine (aka adrenaline), which helps mobilize NK cells. 

Running is a convenient and relatively affordable sport, but there are plenty of different ways to fit exercise into your day. Bike, swim, or round up some friends for a game of soccer or volleyball. Most experts recommend at least 150 minutes of exercise a week—that’s just about 21 minutes a day, or just under 11 minutes twice a day. Squeeze in short sessions if you’re pressed for time and start using the stairs and walking on your lunch break. Those minutes add up, and could improve your health.

Published August 1, 2016

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