How exercise can lower your risk for cancer

How exercise can lower your risk for cancer

It’s no secret that engaging in regular physical activity benefits your health. But did you know that it can help prevent and even reverse some of the effects of cancer? Recent studies have shown that an active lifestyle can help guard against cancer—specifically cancers of the colon and breast. Working out helps your body battle the disease by maintaining a healthy weight, burning fat and producing stress-fighting hormones that lower your blood pressure.

Extensive research confirms the benefits of exercise in preventing colorectal cancer. In fact, you can cut your risk of developing colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent just by intensifying, extending or increasing the frequency of your workouts.

Exercise is even more effective in preventing breast cancer, according to more than 60 studies published globally. These studies support the suggestion that it’s best for women to engage in physical activity from an early age, and that increasing that activity after menopause can provide even more benefits. Overall, the evidence points to a significant decrease in breast cancer risk as correlated with increasingly intense and frequent exercise.

However, the fact remains that over half the United States’ population doesn’t get enough exercise. If you fall into that category, we’ve got some suggestions that can get you on the right track.

What constitutes physical activity?

Any and all movement that expends energy counts as physical activity. So all you need to do is get moving! Many Americans live a sedentary lifestyle, which means they spend a lot of time sitting down. So getting more movement into your life doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym every day—it just means getting on your feet more often.

How much physical activity do I need per day?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that you work in at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity a day for five or more days a week. You can find some examples of moderate and vigorous activities here.

How can I fit exercise into my daily routine?

People often get discouraged when setting fitness goals because they think they have to make a radical lifestyle change right away. Start small so you don’t lose momentum, and eventually the big fitness goals will become.

Here are some easy ways to start living a more active life:

  • Take the long way. Walk instead of driving. Park in the back of the parking lot. Take the stairs. Whatever you do, just get moving!
  • Take your time. Instead of rushing through chores in order to sit down, add some extra steps and make it a job well done on two counts.
  • Vacuum, mow, garden—find activities in your home that get you moving!
  • Exercise in 15-minute chunks by taking a power walk or riding your bike. Try to get your heart beating to the point where you can carry on a conversation, but you can’t easily sing.

If you're looking to sneak a little more exercise into your weekly routine, attend one of Goshen Health's fitness classes, which range from beginner's yoga to weekend bootcamps.

Posted: 8/26/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: cancer, exercise, healthy, weight

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