Exercise Helps to Prevent Cancer
If you cringe at the word “exercise”, well this might get you moving. Cancer research studies have shown that people who live a sedentary lifestyle are more cancer risk than those who regularly exercise. Exercise is good for more than just your waistline. The American Cancer Society report highlights the importance of staying physically active and maintaining a healthy body weight in relation to cancer prevention and treatment of cancer. The society concurs that exercise goes a long way in cancer prevention and recommends about thirty minutes to an hour at least five times a week. Greater participation in physical activity has been consistently associated with reduced cancer risk incidence at several sites, including breast cancer and colon cancer, according to James McClain, Ph.D. cancer prevention fellow at the National Cancer Institute. Even though cancer research studies still have not been able to identify the exact mechanism of how exercise reduces cancer risk, researchers believe that physical activity’s effect on factors including hormone levels, immune function, and body weight may play an important role. But researchers believe that exercise and physical activity can decrease the cancer risk by balancing the calories you take in with the calories you expend, decreasing body fat and other physiological reactions in the body. Obesity or excessive body fat is linked with increased cancer risk of the following types: colon cancer, cancer of the rectum, prostate cancer, breast cancer and kidney cancers.
Not only does the ACS stress the need for a certain kind of activity for a certain amount of time, but it points out the need for another critical element: balance. In order for exercise to be effective in preventing cancer, it must balance the number of calories you take in with the number you burn during activity. That is because taking in many more calories than you burn will result in overweight, which raises the risk for cancer.
We’ve compiled some fun exercises for you to try to help you reach your fitness goals and work out your way to cancer prevention at the same time.
Cancer Prevention Exercise #1: Walking
Walking has many health benefits such as cancer prevention. Instead of using the treadmill, walk outdoors. Find a safe sidewalk or park and walk your way into preventing cancer. Bring headphones and listen to music and make walking fun. If you have kids or dogs at home, bring them along for a walk! Not only are you getting some bonding time with your pet and family, you’re also working your way into preventing cancer.
Cancer Prevention Exercise #2: Yoga
Yoga is another great exercise to try for cancer prevention and it’s a great stress reliever too! Don’t worry about not being flexible, start with a beginner’s class and work your way up each class. Bring a friend to class to make it less intimidating. Once you learn the basics, you can do the exercises at home in your free time. Now what could be better than achieving holistic health in an effort of preventing cancer?
Cancer Prevention Exercise #3: Dancing
Dancing can be one of the most fun ways to meet your fitness goals and at the same time, it can be the most enjoyable thing you do for cancer prevention. You can dance in the privacy of your living room or go to a club. If you have two left feet, try a dance class! Learn salsa, ballroom dancing or even the meringue! There are so many types of dance to learn, you can’t go wrong.
Cancer Prevention Exercise #4: Rollerblading
Surprise? Rollerblading is not just for kids anymore! Bring out your old roller skates and work your way into cancer prevention. Just make sure you have the proper protective gear like a helmet, knee and elbow pads and have a go at rollerblading! It is very cardiovascular and works out all the muscles in your body. Don’t worry if you don’t get it at first, practice makes perfect.
Cancer Prevention Exercise #5: Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that promotes health through slow moving exercises and breathing techniques. It is also meditative. Classes can be taught in a group setting or in private classes. Man seniors practice tai chi for its health benefits.
Cancer Prevention Exercise #6: Join a Team Sport
Joining a team sport like softball, volleyball and soccer can be tons of fun! Organized sports are sometimes offered through the workplace and recreation centers. If your workplace doesn’t have one, why not organize a sport? You’ll meet new people and engage in healthy competition all while working your way into preventing cancer and achieving holistic health.
Cancer Prevention Exercise #7: Swimming
Swimming is an excellent form of exercise a great way of preventing the cancer disease. It works out all the muscles in the body and it can be very cardiovascular. If you don’t know how to swim, lessons are available for adults. You can also try water aerobics.
Cancer Prevention Exercise #8: Hiking
If you love the outdoors, hiking is for you! The scenery alone makes hiking worthwhile. Set a goal for yourself like distance or the amount of time you hike during each session. Not only are you challenging yourself, you are working your way into cancer prevention and getting one of the best ways to get in shape!
Cancer Prevention Exercise #9: Cycling
You can cycle at home while watching TV on a stationary bike or hit the outdoors with a traditional bike. A lot of adults prefer stationary bikes because it is convenient and you can even control the resistance and simulate biking uphill or downhill. Whether you bike at home or outdoors, you are easily meeting the recommended 30 minutes, five days a week cancer prevention.
Cancer Prevention Exercise #10: Dodgeball
Dodgeball is back! Gyms and recreational centers are catching onto the new form of cancer prevention exercise trend by offering classes and organized teams. Dodgeball is fun and it is also the ultimate stress reliever! Think back to when you were playing in school, how good it felt to get someone “out”. Yes it’s definitely a stress reliever.
Doing physical activity is also great for people who are recovering from cancer. In recent years, there have been a number of high profile cases of cancer involving professional athletes. Lance Armstrong a professional cyclist battled testicular cancer. Scott Hamilton a professional skater also battled testicular cancer and Peggy Fleming also a professional skater battled breast cancer. In each of these cases, the athlete resumed their training regime after diagnosis and treatment of cancer. In most cases, exercise reduced the nausea and fatigue that accompanies cancer chemotherapy.
Erik Durak, M.Sc. is a co-director of the Cancer Well Fit program in Santa Barbara California, a program wherein cancer patients engage in group exercise sessions involving resistance training, aerobic training, yoga and meditation. According to Mr. Durak, participants improved their strength and endurance by more than 25 percent Fatigue levels were reduced by 30 percent and pain was reduced by more than 20 percent.
Oncologists (cancer specializing doctors) believe that quality of life is one of the two most important concerns of cancer treatment. The other is survivability. The Cancer Well-Fit program improved the quality of life of its participants by more than 40 percent. Exercise when combined with proper nutrition and improved medical care may open new doors to the cure and recovery of cancer in the future.