People with high cardiorespiratory fitness are at markedly reduced risk for developing lung or colorectal cancer, and if they do develop one of these cancers, they have a lower mortality rate than their counterparts who are not fit, according to an observational study in the journal Cancer in May 2019.
Researchers studied 49,000 people, ages 40 to 70, without cancer who underwent treadmill stress testing to evaluate their cardiorespiratory fitness and were then followed for an average of eight years. Those who were fittest had a 77 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer and a 61 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer than those who were least fit. Age, race, weight, smoking history, and several other factors were controlled for.
Among people who developed lung or colorectal cancer, the fittest had, respectively, a 44 percent and an 89 percent lower mortality rate during the follow-up period than the least fit. People who were only moderately fit also had reductions in these risks, though less dramatic ones.
This article first appeared in the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter.