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.
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.