The Link between Exercise and Cancer you shouldn’t Ignore
May 22, 2017
You already know that there is a link between physical fitness and a decreased risk of heart disease or obesity. What you may not know is that there is also a correlation between regular workouts and developing cancer. Emerging science shows there is a connection between exercise and cancer, and that staying in shape could greatly decrease your risk.
Reduces Colon Polyps
Researchers in Singapore have determined that people with high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness had a decreased risk of developing polyps or adenomas in the colon. Polyps are precancerous growths that increase one’s risk of developing colon cancer.
Participants in a study rode a bicycle to exhaustion, and then their VO2 max was measured. The VO2 max shows how much oxygen the body uses in a given timeframe, and is a measure of aerobic fitness. Next, individuals were tested for precancerous polyps. Those with adenomas were more likely to have a low level of cardiorespiratory fitness as compared to individuals who showed no signs of polyps.
According to Dr. Vikneswaren Manasivayam, physicians have long known there was a connection between exercise and cancer (particularly colorectal cancer), but results of the recent study only make that point more valid.
Decreased Breast Cancer Risk
The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center claims that women who perform regular exercise have between a 30 and 40 percent lower risk of breast cancer than females who lead sedentary lifestyles. One reason for this correlation between exercise and cancer might be that working out reduces estrogen levels in the blood-something that has been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. Since estrogen is produced only by fat cells following menopause, exercising to reduce the amount of fat can be especially helpful for older women.
Exercise and Cancer: Recovering after Chemo
The unfortunate truth is that many people will develop cancer despite leading healthy lifestyles. That doesn’t mean that physical fitness is still not important. The American Cancer Society (ACS) claims there are numerous health benefits to moderate exercise for those receiving cancer treatment. A few of those benefits may include:
Preventing muscle waste
Improving balance to reduce the risk of falls
Increasing blood flow to the legs and lowering your odds of developing blood clots
Allowing you to remain more independent
Although exercise is recommended during chemotherapy or other cancer treatments, the ACS recognizes that you could need to work out less often or modify your workouts so they are less intense. At any rate, the goal should be to remain as active and physically fit as possible, as doing so will improve your mental outlook and increase your odds of recovery. You can also read more about the importance of cardiovascular health and fighting diseases here – which touches on how being healthier can help you during treatment.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Since it is now catching up with heart disease, it is only natural that researchers are interested in learning if there is a link between exercise and cancer. Thus far, it appears that a regular fitness routine could not only decrease your odds of developing cancer, but might also improve the chance of a successful recovery should you become diagnosed.