Sunday, March 17, 2019

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) Reduces Cancer Cell Growth?

Picture by richseow from Flickr
I've written positively before about the effects of running on cancer a few years ago. Now there seems to be more evidence that even a single session of high intensity interval training (HIIT) may significantly slow the growth of colon cancer cells.

Researchers had male colorectal cancer survivors perform either a single HIIT session or do HIIT regularly for a month.

After a ten minute warm up, the single HIIT group did four intervals of four minutes cycling (at 85to 95 percent maximum heart rate) with three minutes of recovery in between. The other group did this same session three times a week for a month.

Picture by jungle jim3 from Flickr
Blood samples were taken from these subjects before and after the HIIT sessions. Blood samples before exercise had no effect whatsoever on the cancer cells. Blood samples after the HIIT sessions showed a decrease in the cancer cells immediately.

While comparing the single session HIIT group with the other, there was no significant difference in the blood samples.

During high intensity exercises, our muscles releases lots of myokines (inflammatory cytokines) compared to moderate intensity exercises.

The researchers attributed the cancer cells reduction to cytokines (or inflammatory markers) found in the bloodstream after exercise.

The researchers suggested that the reduction in cancer cells in the colon is not specific to those who had cancer before. Other studies have found similar reductions in prostate cancer cells in healthy individuals as well.

Every individual tolerates and responds differently to exercises, especially HIIT sessions. Train don't strain is important too.


Devin JL, Hill MM et al (2019). Acute High Intensity Interval Exercise Reduces Colon Cancer Cell Growth. J Physiol. DOI: 10.1113/JP277648.

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