April 17th, 2023
Can Exercise Prevent Cancer?
Though a cure for cancer is still at large, we have the ability to make changes that help reduce our risk of certain cancers, primarily through living a healthy and active lifestyle. Avoiding smoking, protecting yourself from UV rays, eating well, reducing your intake of alcohol, maintaining a healthy body weight, and daily movement are all key pillars to wellness. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, “about 4 in 10 cancer cases can be prevented through healthy living.”
Can Exercise Prevent Cancer?
The evidence linking higher physical activity to lower risk of cancer comes mainly from observational studies. Selected focus groups have tracked and reported their physical activity and been followed for years to monitor their possible diagnoses of cancer. Observational studies cannot prove a definite relationship between exercise and cancer risk. However, when studies among different populations have similar results indicating a possible correlation, health professionals and scientists alike agree that this is evidence enough to act accordingly. Numbers don’t lie.
According to the aforementioned observational studies, it only takes 30 minutes of movement a day to help reduce your risk of colorectal, bladder, esophageal, kidney, stomach, uterine, breast, and lung cancers.
Preventative measures You Can Take Now
So what exactly counts as physical activity? Well, just like exercising for everyday health, any movement that uses skeletal muscle and requires more energy than rest can be counted as healthy physical activity that can reduce the risk of cancer. Whether the movement you choose is structured or unstructured, it is only a sedentary lifestyle that is dangerous.
Walking your dog, tackling the playground with your kids, or doing household chores can reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases just as much as lifting weights, running a marathon, or playing sports can.
Aside from preventative measures, cancer patients can improve their quality of life through exercise. In general, exercise can improve the body’s response to treatment no matter the stage or type of cancer. A healthy body is more resilient. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce treatment-related fatigue, maintain heart and lung fitness, maintain physical ability and strength, and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. In some observational studies, exercise has also been associated with better survival rates for certain cancers. As a rule of thumb, exercise will always improve overall health.
Want Some help?
At Nielsen Fitness, we work alongside allied health professionals to help clients in all phases of various cancer treatments. Our specialty lies in designing an exercise program based on the guidance of your primary doctor and their treatment plan. For more information on what we can do for you and your health, contact Nielsen Fitness to book a free initial consultation. We’re always happy and ready to answer any questions you may have.