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Exercise May Lower Cancer Risk

Exercise May Lower Cancer Risk

Exercise has been linked to lower cancer risk for some time, but the results were inconclusive. Recently a brand new study undertaken by researchers from the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute conclusively linked exercise to a lower risk of cancer.

Physical activity means any movement that engages skeletal muscles and needs more energy than resting does. Working or doing household chores is also included in physical activity, along with relaxing activities like walking, swimming, or hiking.

Exercise helps in maintaining a balance between the calories that we consume and the calories that we use. If we consume more calories than we burn, it causes obesity, which is related to a higher risk of thirteen kinds of cancer.

There are many different biological effects on the body due to exercise. It prevents the harmful effects of obesity, especially insulin resistance. Exercise helps improve the body's immune system and also reduces inflammation. It also helps in lowering the levels of hormones like estrogen and insulin, and it helps in the reduction of individual factors of growth that have previously been a reason for cancer development.

Exercise May Lower Cancer Risk

Also Read: The Impact of Exercise on Cancer Rehabilitation

Health risks of being sedentary

Long periods of watching television, sitting, or lying down are sedentary behaviour. This kind of behaviour is a risk factor for the development of various chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer.

How much exercise do you need?

A healthy amount of physical exercise does not mean that you must be a fitness fanatic. Walking a mile in 20 minutes is moderately intense and helps you stay active. The American Cancer Society recommends that an adult should do a minimum of two and a half hours of moderate-intensity exercise or an hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous exercise every week. This can be achieved by simply walking for thirty minutes for five days per week. In short, 150 minutes of exercise per week can serve the purpose and fitness goal.

Effective Exercises for Cancer Patients

Engaging in appropriate exercise can be highly beneficial for cancer patients, aiding in their overall well-being and recovery. However, it's crucial to consult with healthcare professionals or certified exercise specialists before initiating any exercise program. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore a variety of exercises suitable for cancer patients, tailored to their individual capabilities and treatment stages.

  1. Walking: An Ideal Low-Impact Aerobic Exercise Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be easily adjusted to individual fitness levels. Not only does it improve cardiovascular health, but it also strengthens muscles and boosts mood. Discover how walking can positively impact cancer patients.
  2. Stretching: Maintaining Flexibility and Range of Motion Gentle stretching exercises help maintain or improve flexibility and range of motion, essential for cancer patients. We'll discuss major muscle groups to focus on, warming up, and various stretching techniques to promote flexibility during treatment.
  3. Strength Training: Building and Maintaining Muscular Strength Light to moderate resistance exercises using weights or resistance bands can assist cancer patients in maintaining or building muscle strength. Start with manageable weights and gradually increase intensity to prevent overexertion. Learn more about strength training benefits.
  4. Yoga: Enhancing Strength, Flexibility, and Relaxation Yoga, with its combination of physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation, provides a comprehensive approach to exercise for cancer patients. We'll explore gentle or restorative yoga classes specifically designed to cater to the needs of individuals undergoing cancer treatment.
  5. Water Exercises: Gentle and Effective Workouts Swimming or water aerobics offer low-impact exercise options for cancer patients. Water's buoyancy reduces strain on joints and muscles while improving cardiovascular fitness, strength, and flexibility. Uncover the benefits of water exercises.
  6. Tai Chi: A Mind-Body Exercise for Overall Well-being Tai Chi's slow, gentle movements, deep breathing, and mental focus make it an ideal exercise for cancer patients. Enhancing balance, flexibility, strength, and overall well-being, Tai Chi can be practised with instructional videos or specialized classes for beginners and individuals undergoing cancer treatment.
  7. Cycling: Low-Impact Cardiovascular Fitness Cycling, whether indoors or outdoors, provides a low-impact exercise option for cancer patients. Enhance cardiovascular fitness, leg strength, and endurance by gradually increasing duration and intensity. Learn how cycling positively impacts cancer patients.

Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Survivors

Many different observational studies have shown a positive impact of exercise on cancer survivors. During treatment, the lowered physical activity, as well as the side effects cancer of treatment, can lead to weight gain. Exercise helps to keep their weight under check. Apart from that, it also has an overall beneficial impact on the cancer survivor's health.

Exercise May Lower Cancer Risk

Also Read: Integrative Cancer Treatment

As of now, there are still a lot of questions waiting to be answered to substantiate the links between higher physical exercise and lowered risk of cancer. However, exercising, in general, is beneficial for the physical as well as mental well-being of an individual. So we hope that this article motivates you to pick up physical activity and take care of yourself.

How exercise can lower the risk of different types of cancer

Following are the types of cancer that can be avoided with exercise:

  • Colorectal Cancer

A recent study published by the British Medical Journal suggested that people who routinely practised healthy lifestyle habits such as getting proper sleep, eating healthy, and exercising for about 30 minutes a day have a reduced risk of Colorectal Cancer.

A survey conducted between 55489 women and men suggests that Colorectal Cancer is preventable to up to 23% if you make healthy lifestyle changes and stick to them. Moreover, regular exercise can help modify the quality of your overall life. Necessary changes such as moderate exercising on a timely basis can work wonders in lowering your chance of getting Colorectal Cancer.

  • Prostate Cancer

Studies that suggest exercise plays a vital role in reducing the potential risk of Prostate Cancer are there, but limited. A study conducted in 2006 suggests that men practising a regular exercise schedule had a reduced risk of obtaining prostate cancer, while men with no physical activity were more vulnerable to developing cancer.

Another study conducted in 2005 among Chinese men suggests that moderate exercising can protect you from developing Prostate Cancer. Doing an exercise that you enjoy can help benefit you in the long run. Moreover, exercise can also ease Cancer Treatment side effects. It is one of the most popular ways to prevent cancer.

  • Breast Cancer

Women with an inherent risk of Breast Cancer due to family history can decrease their risk of developing Breast Cancer by one-fourth percentage. Doing vigorous or moderate exercise for 20 or more minutes a day can undeniably help in decreasing your potential risk of falling prey to Breast Cancer.

However, a study conducted by the journal Breast Cancer Research suggests that one should follow maximum healthy habits, along with exercise, to avoid getting Breast Cancer. Regular exercising right from adolescence can help delay and decrease the risk of developing Breast Cancer.

  • Gastric Cancer

A study conducted in 2008 suggests that people with a moderate or vigorous exercise routine have a chance of reducing gastric cancer risk by up to 50%. All the people who have had a consistent routine of practising strenuous physical activity were said to have a minimal chance of developing Stomach Cancer.

Researchers of Cancer Care Ontario suggest that exercising at least 3 times a week can help lower the risk of developing symptoms of Stomach Cancer by up to 40%. However, extensive research needs to be done to prove the effects of exercising on lowering gastric cancer risk.

  • Ovarian Cancer

Although more studies are needed to prove the effects of exercise on lowering the risk of ovarian cancer, evidence suggests that exercise plays a fundamental role in lowering the risk of epithelial Ovarian Cancer.

Exercise May Lower Cancer Risk

Most women with a high-intensity workout schedule experienced a lower risk of invasive Ovarian Cancer compared to women with no physical activity. Exercising solely depends on you. It is one of the very effective ways to prevent cancer. You can do moderate or vigorous workouts, whatever suits your body. However, cardio can help considerably lower the risk of developing Ovarian Cancer.

Elevate Wellness & Recovery in Cancer

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Reference:

  1. Jurdana M. Physical activity and cancer risk. Actual knowledge and possible biological mechanisms. Radiol Oncol. 2021 Jan 12;55(1):7-17. doi: 10.2478/raon-2020-0063. PMID: 33885236; PMCID: PMC7877262.
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