Cancer is globally increasing and is one of the major threats to healthy aging. To date we have no indications that this will change for decades. While the relationship between physical fitness and cardiovascular diseases is well documented, the relationship between cancer and cardiorespiratory fitness is less studied.
Physical activity has been shown to benefit the cancer patients in many ways, such as improved quality of life, reduced fatigue and better cardiorespiratory fitness. In addition, it is well established that being physically active reduces the risk of developing several cancer types. In fact, as much as one-fifth to one-third of several common cancer types, including breast- and colon cancer, are associated with low levels of physical activity together with obesity. However, the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and cancer survival is less well documented.
Researchers from Denmark recently published a large long time follow up study where they investigated the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and death from cancer. The study included 5131 cancer free men and tested their cardiorespiratory fitness. The men were followed up for 42 years and during the follow up period 1527 (29.8%) of them died from cancer. Interestingly, the researchers found a highly significant association between cardiorespiratory fitness and death from cancer. For every 10 mL/kg/min increase of estimated cardiorespiratory fitness (measured as maximum oxygen uptake) risk of death decreased by 17-24%. It must be mentioned that cardiorespiratory fitness was not associated with death from prostate cancer but associated with other groups of cancer.
Based on this study, it is clear that cardiorespiratory fitness should be considered in order to reduce the risk of dying from cancer. Recently a Scientific Statement on Cardiorespiratory Fitness released by the American Heart Association identified cardiorespiratory fitness as a vital sign, which should be used in clinical practice.
Perhaps the clear association they found in this study between cardiorespiratory fitness and cancer survival can also encourage and inspire us to change our lifestyle.
“Confused about how much exercise to take for a healthy heart? Norwegian researchers have come up with a useful app that allows you to personalise the amount of exercise needed to reduce your risk of death from heart attack and stroke”, The Irish Times writes about our reserach that lies behind the app PAI (Personal activity intelligence).
This weekend our senior researcher Javaid Nauman was invited to speak about this reserch in front of other researchers and the press at the large congress for heart research, ESC in Rome.
“Individuals do not know how much exercise they need to prevent cardiovascular disease”, Nauman said during the session.
The Crown Prince of Norway tested his fitness using our Fitness Calculator during an event at Egertorget in Oslo at the World Activity Day in May – and as expected he was quite fit.
Physical fitness is key to a long, healthy life. Your body’s ability to transport and use oxygen during exercise is the most precise measure of overall cardiovascular fitness. The more oxygen your body can transport and utilize, the higher your maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and hence your cardiovascular fitness. Your fitness depends, among other things, on your age, gender and how often and how hard you train. You can increase your fitness though training!
We all know that a sedentary lifestyle is unhealthy and that we should be physical active. However, why is that? Why does evolutionary biologist describe natural selection as survival of the fittest meaning that the “fit” has a greater probability for survival than the “unfit”. Under follows a brief and simplified history lesson on why we become “born to be active”.
Once superior locomotive skills and physical capacity were essential for human survival and certainly a reason that Homo sapiens developed and prospered. Physical capacity was important in order to evade predators and secures food supply. Comparative physiologists (Hochachka et al., 1999) together with anthropologist (Bramble and Lieberman, 2004) has hypothesized that superior traits of endurance capacity together with an impressive ability to thermoregulate was essential for ancestral humans from the high plains of East Africa to succeed as game hunters. A success which ensured high protein sources of food which again was important for the development of larger brains and complex cooperative behavior compared to other primates. Simply stated: Physical capacity was necessary for human survival and development.
On our website we have a seven-week training program present to give you who follow us a simple recipe for improved fitness and health. This program is designed as an aid to getting started with exercise, and is designed both for those who hate and those who love to exercise. It is based on our previous studies on effective training, but is deliberately made more time-efficient to fit into a busy schedule. We’ve however never really tested exactly whether this program gives a good training effect – Until now.
PAI is a result of research based on the HUNT study where more than 60 000 individuals has been monitored over a period of more than 20 years. The goal is to make PAI the new world standard of activity tracking. PAI is an individual metric that makes sense of measured heart rate data, and significantly reduces the risk of lifestyle related diseases.
“This is based on solid medical research. We have developed an algorithm, PAI – personal activity intelligence, which relies on the data from The HUNT Study,” CERG leader, Professor Ulrik Wisløff, explained to Adresseavisen.
Wisløff thinks the app could revolutionize the measurement of exercise effects.
“PAI score adapts the individual user’s lifestyle and creates customized targets that are realistic to achieve. As long as the heart rate reaches a certain zone for a certain period, the user will achieve maximum health impact”, Wisløff told the Norwegian newspaper.
PAI is based on incredibly robust data. With a large population we have studied over many years, through The Hunt Study, this is unique.
In 1966 a legendary study from Dallas was published where they studied the effect of total inactivity for 3 weeks. After this 3 week period, the so-called “Dallas bed-rest study” found an increase in body weight, body-fat and a marked decline in fitness level. 30 years later they followed up the same participants and re-examined their health status. As one might expect after 30 years of aging, both body weight, body fat percentage and fitness declined from the happy 20s (before the 3 weeks of bed-rest). However, they found that they were in better shape after 30 years of aging than they were after 3 weeks of inactivity! What many researchers are asking now is if the decline in fitness associated with aging is caused by lower activity level with aging compared to activity level as young.
The UTFORSK project is a collaboration between CERG at NTNU and the University of Sao Paulo. Our primary aim with the project is to promote exchange of staff and students for a variety of activities such as collaboration in research projects, joint teaching, workshops and seminars in the field of Exercise Science. Last week we organized our first Seminar in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The goals of the Seminar were to summarize the research projects in collaboration and also to build new partnerships in research that will last beyond the duration of the project.
There is now plenty of evidence that prolonged sitting increases diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Some office workers who also sit when commuting can sit for up to 13 hours/day, and data shows that sitting kills more people than smoking.