As we cruise into the spring and summer months, most of us will at least try to remember to slather on the sunscreen before spending time outside, but new research suggests the combination of exercise and caffeine could also offer a level of skin protection.
The study, presented at the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting, followed four groups of mice that were exposed to low-dose UV radiation every day for 14 weeks. In addition to a control group, which drank plain water and did not have access to an exercise wheel, the following combinations were studied:
- Caffeinated water and no exercise wheel
- Plain water with access to an exercise wheel
- Caffeinated water with access to an exercise wheel
The mice that received caffeinated water had 27% fewer skin tumors and the tumors were 61% smaller when compared to the control group. The group with access to the exercise wheel and plain water saw a 35% reduction in the number of tumors and they were 70% smaller.
The best results were noted in the group that combined caffeine and exercise. They had 62% fewer tumors overall and those tumors were 85% smaller than the control group’s.
There’s no guarantee similar results would be found in humans and researchers can’t be sure the caffeine and exercise led to the reduction in tumors (it’s possible weight loss played more direct role).
Still, consuming a reasonable amount of caffeine and making physical activity part of your healthy lifestyle are probably recommendations you’ve heard before. If future studies confirm a reduced skin cancer risk, you’ll be ahead of the game!