Exercising during one’s teen years might actually act as a shield from cancer. A new study performed by researchers from Vanderbilt University Medical Centre and the Shanghai Cancer Institute in China has shown that women who were physically active as teenagers had a lower risk of dying from cancer later in life. The findings have been published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
The main aim of the research was to define the association between adolescent exercise and diseases like cancer, cardiovascular ailments and other causes of death among women. Data encompassing 74,941 Chinese women from the age of 40 to 70 were used to draw the link.
The participants had enrolled in the study between 1996 and 2000. They were all surveyed about exercise during their teen years and adulthood. They were then interviewed every two to three years.
“In women, adolescent exercise participation, regardless of adult exercise, was associated with reduced risk of cancer and all-cause mortality,” explained Sarah Nechuta, the lead author of the study.
Participating in team sports during teenage years was found to be linked with a 13 % lower risk of dying from cancer in one’s later years. The researchers also found a 20 % reduced risk of death from all causes & a 17 % decreased risk for heart diseases.
Thus, practising physical exercise early in life might help lower mortality, according to the researchers.
“Our results support the importance of promoting exercise participation in adolescence to reduce mortality in later life and highlight the critical need for the initiation of disease prevention early in life,” said Nechuta.