They discovered that training mice regularly on a wheel (the mouse version of a treadmill) decreased the growth of multiple types of tumours, including skin, liver, and lung cancers. Furthermore, mice that exercised regularly had a smaller chance of developing cancer in the first place.
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The beneficial effects of running went beyond tumor formation and growth, extending to cancer-associated weight loss, a process termed cachexia that is seen in cancer patients. Mice that exercised regularly showed no signs of cancer-associated weight loss in the researchers’ lung cancer mouse model.
The researchers say they identified several factors behind the anti-tumor effects of exercise. These anti-cancer effects are linked to the release of adrenaline (also called epinephrine), a hormone that is central to the “fight-or-flight” response. Adrenaline production is known to be stimulated by exercise.