Does Working Out Really Kill Cancer Cells?

A new study finds that exercise can kill cancer cells, but only if you work out intensely for at least 30 minutes a day.


The idea that physical activity can help prevent and/or treat cancer has been around since the late 1800s but in recent years, a new wave of research has shown promising results. While there are still many questions to be answered, evidence is pointing to the fact that exercise may indeed have anti-cancer effects on both healthy cells and cancerous cells.

This article will explore the potential anti-cancer benefits of physical activity by examining some of the most current research in this field. We’ll take an overview of how exercise may beneficially affect existing and potential cancer cells, highlighting possible mechanisms behind these effects. We’ll also look at the positive effect exercise has on other areas related to cancer prevention, such as improving immunity, reducing inflammation, and managing body weight. Finally, we’ll provide practical tips on how to incorporate more physical activity into your life while being cognizant of possible limitations related to age and any underlying health issues you may have.

What is Cancer?

Cancer is a disease caused by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells. It can affect any part of the body, including the organs and lymph nodes. Cancer can be treated with surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and other techniques. Although it may not always be possible to prevent cancer, it is essential to be aware of its signs and symptoms, and know the steps to take if you suspect you may have it.

Types of Cancer

Cancer is a broad term used to describe more than 100 diseases characterized by abnormal cell growth that can spread to other parts of the body. The most commonly diagnosed cancers include lung, breast, prostate, colorectal and melanoma. Other forms of cancer are classified according to the type of cell in which they begin and include leukemias, lymphomas and sarcomas.

The four main types of cancer are carcinomas, sarcomas, lymphomas, and leukemia. Carcinomas start in the epithelium or covering layer of cells that line both the internal organs (such as stomach) and cover the outside surface of the body (such as skin). About 85 percent of all cancers are carcinomas. Sarcomas develop in bone or soft tissue such as muscles, fat or blood vessels. Most sarcomas occur in people between eighteen and thirty years old. Lymphomas develop in lymph tissue found in many parts of your body including your spleen and bone marrow. Leukemia occurs when malignant white blood cells accumulate in your bloodstream instead of healthy white blood cells

It’s important to note that some cancers do not fit neatly into any one category; however most can be attributed to a specific type based on where they originated from within the body. Additional subcategories often provide even more detailed diagnoses regarding a person’s condition.

Causes of Cancer

Cancer is a complex group of diseases with many possible causes. In most cases, it’s the result of DNA damage that triggers cells to proliferate in an uncontrolled way. Many factors can further contribute to this initial damage, including lifestyle, environment and hereditary factors.

Lifestyle: Certain lifestyle choices—such as smoking or drinking alcohol—can increase your risk for developing certain types of cancer. Diet may also be an important factor in development of cancer, with certain types associated with processed and red meat consumption increasing risk.

Environment: Individuals are frequently exposed to environmental changes that can lead to DNA damage and contribute to cancer development. Sunlight exposure has long been recognized as a factor in skin cancers; exposure to asbestos is linked to increased risk of mesothelioma; and exposure to perfluorinated compounds is linked to some cancers in both adults and children.

Hereditary: Genetics play a large role in your overall health, including your chance for developing certain types cancers others within your family may have had. Hereditary influences on cancer can include gene mutations caused by inherited defective genes from a parent; specific inherited syndromes such as Lynch syndrome or Li-Fraumeni syndrome which increase risk for multiple types of cancer; and single gene mutations (BRCA1/2).

How Does Working Out Affect Cancer?

Working out has many health benefits and can help prevent the risk of developing certain diseases. However, some studies have found that working out could also help fight against cancer. Research has shown that exercise can stimulate the immune system to target and kill cancer cells, as well as reduce inflammation which may help in the prevention of cancer cells. Let’s look into more details regarding how exercise can affect cancer cells.

Benefits of Exercise

Physical activity and exercise have a wide variety of known health benefits, but did you know that it can also help combat cancer? Regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing some forms of cancer, and can aid in recovery after diagnosis. Many studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have lower levels of cancer-causing hormones in their bodies.

Some medical researchers believe that physical activity may be able to help fight existing cancer cells directly by improving immune system responses or by limiting the spread of tumors. Physical activity also reduces stress levels, which are associated with an increased risk of developing certain types of cancers.

In addition to reduced risk and fighting existing cancer cells, regular exercise can also make living with cancer more manageable by providing physical and mental strength along with improving overall quality of life. Regular aerobic activities, like walking or running, can increase endurance and help decrease pain for people already dealing with the effects of various forms of cancer. Exercise is also helpful for reducing common side effects associated with many treatments such as fatigue, weakness, pain and nausea.

Exercise should be tailored to your personal fitness level as guided by an appropriate healthcare provider. Individuals living with a history or current diagnosis of cancer should discuss their workout routine and any limitations before beginning a new regimen.

Exercise and Cancer Prevention

Regular physical activity can be an effective way to reduce the risk of developing certain cancers. Research has shown that exercise can help lower the risk of breast and colon cancer, reduce inflammation, and maintain a healthy body weight.

Activities such as walking and running are excellent ways to decrease the risk of developing cancer by increasing your overall physical activity level. These activities help to create a balanced lifestyle, provide stress relief, build muscle strength, improve balance and coordination, and burn calories. Additionally, aerobic activities such as aerobics classes or swimming laps can also be beneficial in reducing your cancer risk by increasing oxygenation to the cells in your body.

Strength training is another important component when it comes to reducing the risk of developing cancer. Research has shown that strength training can increase lean muscle mass which helps the body burn calories more efficiently. Strength exercises such as push-ups or burpees help strengthen bones which aids in reducing fractures later on in life — one possible cause for certain types of cancer. Other forms of strength training like yoga or pilates are also beneficial for keeping muscles strong while improving flexibility and helping reduce stress levels — essential factors when it comes to preventing certain forms of cancer.

Overall, regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy weight and strengthens bones, muscles, ligaments and organs — all factors that have been linked with helping prevent certain types of cancer from developing or progressing quickly if you do get diagnosed. It is important to understand that regular physical activity isn’t a guarantee against getting any type of cancer but research has proven that staying active can reduce your chances significantly; it’s recommended that adults get at least thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days per week in order to help decrease their risk for potential health issues including various forms of cancer.

Exercise and Cancer Treatment

It is well known that exercise can lead to a healthier lifestyle and reduce the risk of developing certain cancers, but does exercise really have the power to fight cancer? Many studies have suggested that regular physical activity is essential for cancer treatment and can even help to kill cancer cells. In this article, we will discuss the evidence for the role of exercise in cancer treatment and whether it is effective.

Exercise and Chemotherapy

Regular moderate to vigorous exercise can also be beneficial for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Exercise can help reduce symptoms and improve endurance. In addition, exercising during chemotherapy may support more efficient use of drugs, reduce side effects and enhance quality of life throughout treatment.

When combined with chemotherapy drugs, evidence suggests that exercise may increase treatment effectiveness and reduce tumor size. Research has additionally shown that physical activity can increase the number of immune cells in circulation — a likely result of increased sensitivity to drugs used to kill cancer cells — which means there is potential for an improved response to chemotherapy treatments.

Prior to any physical activity during or after cancer treatment it is important to consult your doctor or medical team to assess your condition and determine a suitable exercise regimen or other lifestyle changes that are right for you. Some types of exercises that could be suitable for aiding treatment include:
-Gentle stretching such as yoga or tai chi
-Low-impact cardio such as walking and swimming
-Strength training exercises like resistance bands, weigths or body weight exercises

Exercise and Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is often used to attack cancerous cells in the body. Research has found that exercise can support these beneficial effects. Exercise can facilitate increased radiation penetration into tumors and may improve the effectiveness of radiation to kill off cancer cells.

Individuals undergoing radiation treatments should increase their level of physical activity in order to maximize the therapeutic effects of treatment. However, there are some precautions that need to be taken when exercising during this time. Plan an exercise schedule and begin slowly with moderate aerobic activities such as walking, swimming or biking rather than high-intensity exercises such as sprinting or interval training. Aerobic activities should be at least 30 minutes in duration, but strength-training exercise for specific muscle groups may also be beneficial during treatment.

It is important to note that muscles and organs which are close to areas being irradiated must also be respected and care must be taken not to strain them or put too much pressure on them while exercising. Speak with your oncologist or radiation doctor about any specific precautions you should take before beginning a regular exercise regimen during cancer treatments, particularly if you are going through radiation therapy.


In conclusion, the research into how physical activity and exercise affects cancer is still in its early stages and more rigorous studies need to be done before we can make any definitive claims. However, the evidence points to physical activity reducing the risk of certain cancers and having a positive effect on cancer treatments. Exercise may also have assistive effects in killing tumor cells or preventing metastasis.

It is important to note that exercise alone cannot prevent cancer; it is only one part of a larger health plan that includes healthy eating, limiting stress, drinking plenty of water, avoiding smoking and excessive drinking, and getting regular health screenings. However, regular exercise can be part of a comprehensive lifestyle plan which may reduce your risk for developing cancer or slow down progression in those already diagnosed with the disease.

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