Resistance training and the risk of colon and rectal cancers

Cancer Causes Control. 2012 Jul;23(7):1091-7. doi: 10.1007/s10552-012-9978-x. Epub 2012 May 5.


Purpose: Although there is convincing evidence that physical activity reduces colon cancer risk, research in this area has focused on aerobic activity. We conducted a case-control study to investigate whether resistance training was associated with the risk of colon and rectal cancers.

Methods: Data were collected on various colorectal cancer risk factors, including recreational physical activity performed during three age periods, from 870 cases and 996 controls in Western Australia in 2005-2007. Participants were classified as having never, possibly, or definitely performed resistance training in each age period and over the adult lifetime. The association between resistance training and colon and rectal cancer risk was analyzed using multinomial logistic regression.

Results: Participants who definitely performed resistance training in their lifetime had a non-significant reduced risk of colon cancer compared with those who did no resistance training (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 0.70, 95 % confidence interval (CI) = 0.45-1.11). No association was found for rectal cancer risk (AOR = 1.16, 95 % CI = 0.71-1.87). Performing resistance training was associated with a lower risk of colon cancer in each age period, although none of the relationships were statistically significant.

Conclusion: This study provides some initial evidence, albeit inconclusive, that resistance training may be inversely associated with colon cancer risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Colonic Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / etiology
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Rectal Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Rectal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Western Australia / epidemiology