Keeping Cancer at Bay With Exercise
Relationship with Cancer.
During my cancer awareness talks I often show a picture of an office room and ask the audience to spot the killer. Most of the audience fail to notice! Chair is one of the greatest killers today than ever before.
According to independent estimates, up to one-third of cancer-related deaths are due to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, including two of the most common cancers — breast, endometrium and colon cancer. Many people exercise to prevent heart disease, but exercise can also play a key role in preventing cancer.
Often patients ask me why they got cancer. Most cancers are caused by lifestyle factors—not genes. Genes contribute in less than 10% of cases.
How much to exercise?
A good goal is to exercise at least 30 minutes a day on most days of the week. To get the most benefit, though, aim for about an hour a day. You don’t have to be a marathon runner to get the benefit. Moderate-intensity activities such as walking at 4-5 km per hour may be sufficient.
It’s easier than you think! A half hour of physical activity daily such as walking, slow swimming, leisurely bike riding or golfing without a cart will get you started. Here are some other ways to be more active:
• Use stairs rather than an elevator
• Walk or bike to your destination, and walk around the block after dinner
• Exercise at lunch with your family or friends
• Go dancing
• Use a stationary bike or do sit-ups, leg lifts and push-ups while watching TV
• When the weather is too poor to be outside, grab a partner and “walk the mall.”
• Vary your type of exercise so you won’t get bored or think it’s a chore.
Often people view exercise narrowly as a way to lose weight or to look better. These incentives can be effective, but exercise is really about a person taking charge of his or her health, preventing chronic diseases like cancer, and living longer.
How does exercise reduce cancer risk?
The risk of 13 cancers are significantly reduced by exercise, important among them being, colon, breast and endometrium. There are many reasons why exercise could reduce the risk of cancer.
- exercise lowers the level of growth hormones in the body.
- reduces the obesity which is associated with cancer.
- reduces inflammation or swelling.
- boosts immunity
- improves the functioning of digestive system.
Cancer also is a lifestyle disease just like diabetes and hypertension.