Cancer Prevention And Fitness: A Physical Activity Guide

A great part of a healthy lifestyle, especially if you have increased cancer risks, is cancer fitness exercise. That may sound crazy–exercise helps prevent cancer and improves survival rates for patients, but it’s true! With the introduction of healthy exercise, in conjunction with proper nutrition, anyone with cancer risks, concerns, or in treatment can improve their chances of preventing and surviving the disease.

Why Does Exercise Prevent Cancer?

Aside from the proven health benefits of exercise, that include disease prevention, increased well-being, and general physical fitness, exercise has been linked to the protection against the development of colon, breast, prostate, lung, and uterus cancer specifically. There are a number of reasons exercise is so effective including:

  • It reduces obesity – obesity is related to the cause of several kinds of cancer.
  • It speeds up metabolism – a faster metabolism means a swift passage of waste foods and toxins through the colon and digestive tract, reducing the time your colon tissue is exposed to possible carcinogens.
  • It changes your hormone levels – hormones are frequently linked to an increase in some kinds of cancer. Exercise tends to balance those unsafe levels.

How Does Exercise Prevent Cancer?

The specific mechanism that links exercise and cancer-prevention is yet unknown. However, what we do know is that cancer seems to love fat cells. So reducing those fat cells also reduces the environment(s) in which the cancer seems to flourish. In addition, toxins and carcinogens can be easily stored in fat tissue and may cause cancer.

If you are at risk for breast cancer, you need to pay specific attention to your hormones. Even women past menopause produce estrogen–in their fat tissue. If you have a high amount of body fat, you probably have high levels of estrogen, and these can increase your risk of breast cancer. Science shows that exercise changes your body chemistry and reduces your estrogen levels.

How Much Exercise is Enough?

The amount is not what’s important but just getting started–and not immediately setting your goals too high. Start with 30 minutes of physical activity each day. Whether it is walking, climbing stairs, or taking a bike ride. It is important to incorporate the 30 minutes into your daily schedule in a way that is doable.

The benefits are from the exercise itself. If your goals are too difficult to achieve, you set yourself up for failure. Find physical activity that you love, that will raise your heart rate, and give you a cardiovascular workout at the same time.

What Kind of Exercise is Optimal?

Since fat-reduction is a key element in cancer fighting and prevention, it is important to choose activities that will help you burn fat and increase your metabolism. Excellent cardiovascular fitness exercises include:

  • treadmills
  • elliptical machines
  • aerobics
  • spinning
  • brisk walking
  • bicycling
  • trampoline jumping

What Cancer-Related Benefits Come From Exercise?

Aside from preventing cancer, exercise:

  • Improves your blood counts during chemotherapy.
  • Reduces the side effects of your cancer treatments.
  • Improves cancer survival rates.
  • Elevates your energy levels even during treatment.
  • Improves your quality of life, regardless of cancer.
  • Fights muscle-loss from advanced cancer.
  • Reduces depression and anxiety in patients and anyone at-risk.

In the on-going fight against cancer and the race for prevention, exercise is a tool for everyone. Remember that all of our bodies are different and have different levels of exercise tolerance. Start out slow with your exercise program and increase as your body builds healthy tolerance levels. Your doctor is an excellent source of information on what forms of exercise may be best for your specific needs.


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