Exercise and Martial Arts help Fight Cancer

If feeling good, having a great looking body, and boosting your energy levels aren’t good enough excuse to engage in vigorous exercise such as martial arts, a recent academic study shows that vigorous exercise confers cancer protection.


In a recently published paper in the International Journal of Cancer researchers from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque follow on prior work showing exercise reduces risk and improved prognosis of several types of cancer. The researchers looked at the hormone Irshin (also called “the exercise hormone”).

As a brief background, our bodies release the hormone Irshin after vigorous exercise, such as a martial arts class. Prior research, conducted since 2012, has shown that Irshin helps exercise convey many benefits:

  • Enhancing our cognitive skills, by stimulating growth of neurons — see here.
  • Slowing down the aging process, by lengthening our telomeres (the protective caps on the end of our chromosomes) — see here.
  • Helping our body maintain an healthy weight, by reprogramming our body’s fat cells to burn energy instead of just storing it — see here.

By the way, the name “Irshin” was given to the hormone FNDC5 by Dr. Bruce Spiegelman, a cell biologist at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, after the Greek messenger goddess Iris.

The recently released research from the University of New Mexico continues the trend of showing demonstrated benefits conferred by exercise. Specifically, it shows results of cell culture experiments demonstrating that the hormone Irshin fights cancer. The recent research showed that Irshin caused a large percentage of cancerous cells to die, with no apparent ill effect on healthy cells.

So if you needed one more excuse to exercise — there you have it!

See you at training!

Brian is a life-long martial artist, athlete, and serial entrepreneur. He teaches martial arts and self defense to adult and teen students in San Diego, at the Full Potential Martial Arts dojo in Carmel Valley.

5 comments on “Exercise and Martial Arts help Fight Cancer
  1. Ken D. says:

    Thank you for sharing the article:
    “Exercise and Martial Arts help Fight Cancer”

    It’s great to know through Exercise and Martial Arts, our bodies can help combat this disease.

    The benefits of Exercise and Martial Arts are definitely worth pursuing and reading alone won’t do it. We must participate, in order to reap the benefits that they offer.

    Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. Len C. says:

    Not only does exercise help fight cancer. It also makes you feel good and improve your quality of life!

  3. Greg K. says:

    At a minimum, martial arts exercise and karate will help you get stronger, fit and feeling good!

  4. Wilbur A says:

    Keep on exercising!!!

  5. Priscilla says:

    Thanks for the post! Martial arts exercise is the best!

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