What is Better for Cancer Prevention? Weights or Cardiovascular Exercise?

cardio-workoutShervin V. Oskouei, MD, Orthopedic Oncologist, Emory Orthopaedics & Spine
Shannon Kahn, MD, Radiation Oncologist, Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital

For overall health, including cancer prevention, the most effective fitness plan incorporates both cardiovascular training and strength training. There are different benefits with the different exercises so it is ideal to plan your weekly workout routine with split between strength and cardiovascular. If you can workout more than 2 – 3 days of each activity each week, it is recommended.

Benefits of cardiovascular training
• Breathing harder and deeper increases amount of oxygen in the blood
• Heart, lungs, blood vessels work more efficiently with cardio exercises to transport oxygen through the body
• Burns calories – one hour of running burns approximately 600 calories in a average female and 750 calories in the average male

Benefits of strength training
• Increase muscle mass – you will be able to do activities longer after building muscle mass
• Maintain joint flexibility
• Increase bone density
• Manage your weight – Note that muscle burns more calories than fat. So if you have more muscle, your metabolism is likely to be higher and you are likely to be slimmer.

According to the National Institute of Health, obesity has been shown to increase the risk of the following cancer types:

• Esophagus
• Pancreas
• Colon and rectum
• Breast
• Endometrium
• Kidney
• Thyroid
• Gallbladder

All types of exercise can reduce the risk of cancer so if you can exercise 5 – 6 days a week for over 30 minutes a day, you are ahead of the game. And if you can’t make 30 minutes a day, start small by taking the stairs at work, doing some calisthenics when you wake up in the morning, go for a short bike ride with your children. Work it in when you can – your body will thank you for it!

Shervin OskoueiAbout Dr. Shervin Oskouei
Shervin V. Oskouei, MD, assistant professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at Emory University, is an expert in the treatment of musculoskeletal (extremity) tumors, total hip and total knee replacements and revisions. Dr. Oskouei started practicing at Emory in 2004. Dr. Oskouei is board-certified and fellowship trained in orthopaedic surgery. Combining his experience and interests with the state-of-the-art facilities of Emory University and the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University allows Dr. Oskouei to treat patients with the latest modalities using a multi-disciplinary approach.

Shannon Kahn, MDAbout Dr. Shannon Kahn
Shannon Kahn, MD, assistant professor of Radiation Oncology at Emory University and practicing at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital, is board certified in radiation oncology. She is part of a multi-disciplinary team of physicians and caregivers at Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital who, in partnership with Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, are providing the latest treatment options for cancer survivors.


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