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Cancer Research: Intense Exercise can cause stress and can help cancer cells to survive treatment

May 10, 2011
Cancer research: Exercise at a high intensity may preserve cancer cells

Cancer research: Exercise at a high intensity may preserve cancer cells

Exercising at a high intensity can help cancer cells to survive treatment and lead to a disease comeback. This staggering statement is the result of a research study published in Molecular Cancer research (2010; 8 [10], 1399-412). Stress, including the physical stress of intense exercise, seems to activate a protein that enhances the ability of cancer cells to survive treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. This protein, called heat shock factor-1, is induced by stress.Wow! I have always advise against using programs that preach for high intensity exercise in order to speed up results. Now there is a study that shows the incredible and devastating effects of training at a high intensity to the molecular level

This latest study has shocked the fitness community but not myself. i have been saying this since I got myself into this business. The fact that people want to see fast results it does not mean that you need to engage into excruciating workouts. For example if you are a beginner ayou should never engage in high intensity workouts but more individualized and progressive programs. If you are an intermediate exerciser you should not engage into just high intensity workouts. Only high intensity workouts may be followed by athletes (exercising 6 times a week) otherwise stay away. My program is a non impact progressive workout that focuses in medium intensity to achieve optimal fitness results.

Since I wanted to know the impact of physical exercise on the immune system I interviewed one of the top leading experts in the field Professor Bent  Klarlund Pedersen, director of the Center for Information and metabolism.

She is one of the most cited european scientist which one of the most cited article is titled “Exercise and Immune System: Regulation and Adaption”

This was my original interview for my published book: Super Body, Super Brain

1. In the consumer fitness market there is a strong belief than the higher
intensity of the workout, the more calories will be burned and the more
weight you’ll lose. But could training long-term at a high-intensity level
affect the immune system functioning? And if so, could the immune system be
affected particularly for untrained athletes both at the cellular and
humoral level? (Is this why so many average exercisers get sick after they
run a race they’ve trained for?)

If you exercise for a long time, e.g. more than 1 hour and at a high
intensity, 70% or more, we can measure that the immune system is
slightly impaired. This will typically not lead to increased risk of
infections. Howevr, following extreme exhaustion as experienced following a
marathon, it has been reported that there is increased incidence of upper
repiratory tracy infections compared to controls, who did not perform the

2. Can exercising at a high intensity for long periods of time produce a
hormonal imbalance, particularly for untrained athletes? Can it also
trigger excess cortisol levels, and if so, what would be the result?

Not to my knowledge. I know some people talk about “the overtraining
syndrome” which include prolonged immune impairment and hormonal
disturbance. In my oppinion there is not enough information to actually
talk about a well-defind syndrome with disturbed hormonal balance.

3. On your phenomenal website, I read that “We have identified the skeletal
muscle as an endocrine organ, which by contraction stimulates the
production and release of cytokines (myokines), which can influence
metabolism and modify cytokine production in tissue and organs.” Could you
comment on which are the most important myokines: Is IGF-1 one of them?

The best characterised myokine is IL-6, which is released into the blood
during exercise. Plasma- levels of IL-6 may increase up to 100 fold. IL-6
influence fat oxidation and has anti-inflammatory effects

Professor Bent Klarlund Pedersen, director of the Center for Information and metabolism.

Check out my book: Super Body, Super Brain

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