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Sneaky Moves, Big Impact: Simple Strategies to Slash Cancer Risk with Exercise

According to the National Cancer Institute, there is strong evidence that physical activity is linked to lower risk of several types of cancer. I realize how difficult it can be to adopt new habits or to stay active when you feel lousy. But when you understand the science behind the advice, I think you will find that the effort is well worth it.

There is a wealth of evidence that supports an active lifestyle. Physical movement – even a small amount — plays a crucial role in both preventing and supporting the treatment of cancer.

Reducing Cancer Risk, Step by Step

Engaging in even mild physical activity is a potent weapon in lowering the risk of specific cancers. Embarking on a journey of 10,000 steps a day isn’t just about fitness—it’s a stride towards reducing the risk of cancer and chronic diseases (source: Ten Thousand Steps A Day).

The magic isn’t merely in burning calories; it’s in the holistic defense mechanism crafted by physical activity. Beyond shedding pounds, regular movement works wonders by trimming body fat percentage and curbing inflammatory signaling molecules. In this intricate dance, the body creates a robust shield, particularly effective against colorectal and breast cancers.

Muscles: Brilliantly Designed Detoxifying Agents

When you’re sick, especially with something as demanding as cancer, your body is like a fortress under attack. Cancer cells demand a lot of energy, breaking down your muscles and fat to fuel their growth. Engaging in regular physical activity, even if it’s a gentle jog or a brisk walk, acts like a detoxifier. Imagine your muscles working overtime to clear out the cloudy mess cancer leaves in your bloodstream. It’s not just about making your muscles stronger; it’s about resetting your body’s metabolism, bringing back a sense of balance. Check out my article about the body’s second circulatory system: “How Exercise Improves Post-Surgical Results for Lymph Removal.”

The Powerful Effects of 2x Week Strength Training

Strength training just twice a week can reduce the likelihood of dying from cancer by almost one-third! (sources: National Foundation for Cancer Research and Harvard Health). In fact, strength training decreases the overall likelihood for any type of premature death decreased by 23%. As mentioned in the Harvard Health article, although free weights and workout machines can be useful tools for strength training, some forms of strength training such as planks, push-ups, squats and crunches can even be done with no extra equipment and from the comfort of your living room. A beginner’s workout can take as little as 20 minutes, and the effects are well worth the effort.

The Beautiful Side Effects of Exercise

The positive impact of physical activity extends beyond cancer prevention, influencing the quality of life for cancer patients. Exercise acts as an antidepressant, reduces fatigue, combats muscle atrophy, improves chemotherapy tolerance, and may decrease mortality rates for stomach and bowel cancer by half. While it can’t cure cancer alone, physical activity serves as a complementary treatment, enhancing overall well-being.

Sneaky Ways to Get More Exercise:

  • Experts recommend finding creative ways to move while you do things you already enjoy, like doing arm circles or sit-ups during TV commercial breaks.
  • If you don’t have free weights, try lifting a heavy can with each arm. Or fill a plastic grocery bag with a few cans. A gallon of milk weighs a little over 8 lbs. Other ideas HERE.
  • Using one of the many available devices and fitness tr
  • cker apps such as FitBit, you can record the number of steps you take each day. Aim for 10,000 steps a day!
    Take the stairs instead of elevators whenever possible.
  • Researchers have found that doing any physical activity at a slightly higher intensity in short bursts—about one minute at a time—throughout the day significantly reduced cancer risk.
  • Remember, small movements are better than no movements at all.

The scientific evidence supporting an active lifestyle is strong. Regular physical movement, even in small amounts, plays a key role in both preventing cancer and providing support during treatment. It highlights the importance of simple lifestyle changes, emphasizing that even modest steps contribute significantly to our overall well-being and resilience in the face of health challenges.

 

Sneaky Moves, Big Impact: Simple Strategies to Slash Cancer Risk with Exercise

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

 

Related Articles:

Exercise for A Long Healthy Life
Tap Into the Healing Power Beneath Your Feet!

Resources:

Anika Zielenski, “Close Your Eyes and Just Dance,” University of Basel (01/23). https://www.unibas.ch/en/News-Events/Uni-Nova/Uni-Nova-141/Uni-Nova-141-Close-your-eyes-and-just-dance.html

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