Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 1091–1097 | Cite as

Resistance training and the risk of colon and rectal cancers

  • Terry BoyleEmail author
  • Fiona Bull
  • Lin Fritschi
  • Jane Heyworth
Original paper



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.


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.


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.


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


Resistance training Physical activity Colon cancer Rectal cancer 



Adjusted odds ratio


Confidence interval


Metabolic equivalent


Odds ratio



The authors thank Barry Iacopetta, Kieran McCaul, David Crawford, Mehdi Tabatabaei, Cassandra Clayforth, Jenny Landrigan, Jen Girschik, Clare Tran, and Beatriz Cuesta-Briand for their contributions to the Western Australian Bowel Health Study. This work was supported by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (Project Grant Number 353568 and Fellowship Number 37614900 to LF), the University of Western Australia (PhD scholarship to TB), and the Lions Cancer Institute of Western Australia (PhD scholarship to TB).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terry Boyle
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Fiona Bull
    • 1
  • Lin Fritschi
    • 2
  • Jane Heyworth
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Population HealthThe University of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  2. 2.Western Australian Institute for Medical ResearchThe University of Western AustraliaNedlandsAustralia

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