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 under 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.
Links between exercise and reduced risk 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.
Health risks of being sedentary
Long periods of watching television, sitting, or lying down are sedentary behavior. This kind of behavior has 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 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 practiced with instructional videos or specialized classes for beginners and individuals undergoing cancer treatment.
- 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 for 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.
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 wellbeing of an individual. So we hope that this article motivates you to pick up physical activity and take care of yourself.