That exercise prevents cancer is proven. There is conclusive evidence of this fact. It has to be regular and sufficiently adequate.
Exercise is any physical activity that enhances physical fitness and overall health. It involves the use of skeletal muscles and requires energy. It can include walking, running, dancing, biking, swimming, and engaging in sports activities. All this if done regularly can prevent cancer.
The important thing is that exercise should make you sweat and make your heart beat faster. There is strong evidence that higher levels of such physical activity are associated with a lower risk of several types of cancer.
The cancers associated with lowered risk include colon, breast, endometrial cancers, and cancers of the esophagus, liver, stomach, kidney, and myeloid leukemia. In addition, physical activity also decreased the risk of multiple myeloma, as well as cancers of the head and neck, rectum, bladder, and lung.
According to experts, regular exercise can also help people undergoing cancer treatment. It is important that along with physical activity, you adhere to the anti-cancer diet, which includes cancer-fighting foods.
Exercise could be in any form. Stick to one that you enjoy so that it stays regular. It could be moderate or strenuous. The important thing is that it has to be regular. This alienates you from the various cancer risks if you maintain a healthy lifestyle and stick to a healthy anti=cancer diet
How does exercise prevent cancer?
There are a few theories being propounded as to how exercise helps prevent cancer.
1) Exercise strengthens your immune system, which in turn boosts your immunity to prevent and fight diseases including cancer.
2) Exercise increases intestinal movements, which helps in prompt evacuation of the bowels. This prevents any carcinogens in food and the intestines from staying in the intestines for a long period and causing cancer. This especially helps to prevent colon cancer.
4) Exercise has a positive effect against any inflammation in the body, which helps to ward off cancer. Chronic inflammation in the body is a well-known contributory factor to cancer.
5) Exercise helps in the proper metabolism of insulin and hormones. This prevents hormone levels from being high, which helps to ward off cancers that are hormone-dependent, eg breast cancer, endometrial cancer, prostate cancer.
6) Exercise has a positive overall impact on the body’s energy balance, lung capacity, and antioxidant activity, which effectively keeps you immunized against cancer.
7) Exercise keeps cell and DNA repair at an optimum level, which reduces your cancer risks. This prevents a normal healthy cell from turning into a cancer cell.
How much physical activity is recommended to prevent cancer?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines released in 2018, recommends that to gain extensive health benefits and significantly reduce the risk of cancer, an adult should engage in:
- 150 to 300 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (Walking at about 3 mph or 20 minutes per mile is considered moderate intensity) or 75 to 100 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity (Jogging at 6 mph).
- Muscle-strengthening exercises at least 2 days a week, and
- Balance training. Balance training includes exercises that improve your stability. These exercises strengthen the muscles that help keep your posture upright, especially those of your legs and core.
How should patients with cancer exercise?
According to research, exercise can increase your survival rate and help you flourish during your cancer treatment and after. The evidence, which keeps mounting in, suggests that exercise can be one of the most important part of your cancer treatment.
The following are the recommendations for general physical activity for cancer patients.
- Avoid staying sedentary and return to routine daily activities as soon as possible after diagnosis and treatment.
- Start regular physical activity.
- Begin gradually and build up the amount of exercise over time.
Several recent studies suggest that high levels of physical activity are associated with a reduced risk of cancer recurrence, and a longer survival period.
It is best that you start exercising immediately after your cancer is diagnosed if you are not already exercising and continue throughout your treatment.
The best and recommended exercises for cancer patients include:
- Stretching exercises
- Aerobic exercises, such as brisk walking, jogging, and swimming.
- Resistance training such as lifting weights to build muscle.