A new study by Tel Aviv University researchers found that intense aerobic exercise can reduce the risk of metastatic cancer by 72%, by increasing the rate of glucose consumption of internal organs which, in turn, reduces the availability of the energy needed by tumors to grow.

The study, which was published in the prestigious journal Cancer Research and chosen for the cover of the November 2022 issue, was led by professor Carmit Levy from the Department of Human Genetics and Biochemistry, and Dr. Yftach Gepner from the School of Public Health and the Sylvan Adams Sports Institute.

The human data, obtained from an epidemiological study that monitored 3,000 individuals for about 20 years, indicates 72% fewer instances of metastatic cancer in participants who reported regular, high-intensity aerobic activity, compared to those who did not engage in physical exercise.

“Studies have demonstrated that physical exercise reduces the risk for some types of cancer by up to 35%. This positive effect is similar to the impact of exercise on other conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. In this study we added new insight, showing that high-intensity aerobic exercise, which derives its energy from sugar, can reduce the risk of metastatic cancer by as much as 72%,” said Levy and Gepner in a joint statement.

“If so far the general message to the public has been ‘be active, be healthy,’ now we can explain how aerobic activity can maximize the prevention of the most aggressive and metastatic types of cancer,” added the researchers.

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