The solution is as simple as exercising 3-4 hours per week. You’ll reduce your risk of getting cancer by over 60%, and reduce your risk of a cancer relapse by 40%. Incredible benefits for only a few hours per week, yet how many just can’t find the time to exercise, or even move their body beyond work, home, and refrigerator.
It doesn’t take much. A 2011 study looking at men diagnosed with prostate cancer found just 3 hours of vigorous physical activity per week lowered their risk of dying from cancer by 61%. Men over 65 with prostate cancer who exercise regularly enjoy even better odds. Just 3 hours exercise per week reduced their risk of dying by a whopping 70%. Expanding the benefits of exercise, the Macmillan Cancer Support Study, a review 60 studies and survey of 400 health care professionals, found that breast cancer patients reduced their mortality by 40% with exercise, and bowel cancer patients reduced their risk of dying by 50%.
And if you were exercising before your cancer diagnosis, your odds are even better. Now think about this, many men and women don’t even realize they have cancer till its been growing inside for a long time. This is precious time when you could have been exercising to improve your odds.
Exercise acts on cancer in multiple ways. It reduces internal inflammation preventing cancer’s occurrence. In addition, a 2003 study found that exercise increases the p53 tumor suppressor gene while reducing IGF-1. This acts to stop radical cell growth and promote natural cancer cell death thereby preventing and stopping cancer in its tracks. In truth, the more active you are the less possibility of cancer you’ll have. Add to this, the findings out of a study looking at 572 cancer patients who had their prostates removed because of cancer. They found men participating in more exercise had more normally shaped blood vessels in their tumors. Why is this important? Tests have shown more regularly shaped blood vessels equate to quicker and more complete healing results after treatment.
Then it’s important to consider the quality of life after cancer treatment. A 2015 study of women treated for breast cancer found those who participated in a trainer supervised, slowly progressive weight training program achieved much better physical functioning than those who merely rested after treatment. Simple daily activities such as walking, carrying things, even getting out of the bed or shower were all improved for those who exercised over those who did not. Studies also found that breast cancer patients who exercised experienced less nausea, reduced risk of blood clots, had easier digestion with less constipation, reduced weight, enjoyed a healthier sex drive, and experienced more energy.
Activities such as guided exercise, biking, tennis, jogging, swimming and even fast walking all contributed to lowering health risks, though some feel they’re only a little overweight so why put out the effort. Bet you didn’t know you don’t have to be obese or really fat to increase your risks of cancer. Just 10 to 20 pounds overweight may start the process. Excess fat actually acts like an organ in your body. It makes hormones and proteins that increase inflammation that directly cause cancer. Fat is not just fat. There are over 20 hormones and 80 different harmful proteins made by the fat around your middle. The greater the fat, the more nasty chemicals are being made. This eventually causes cellular DNA damage while supporting cancer development, growth, and recurrence. Yet how many patients have their cancer treated without addressing the overweight lifestyle that contributed to or created the cancer.
But cancer isn’t the only consequence. It is well documented that excess fat, especially around your middle, causes general inflammation throughout your body. This inflammation can lead to heart attacks, stroke, Alzheimer’s, nervous system disorders and much more. To live a high quality of life we need to break out of this destructive process.
So our tasks become staying physically fit, getting your blood really flowing, and reducing your gut. Have you taken a good look at the American population recently? How many do you see walking around with a basketball or worse pushing out from where their stomach used to be? No man or woman was born like this. Nor did it just happen. It took years of neglect and abuse to grow that gut, the same gut that may reduce you to your knees with cancer. Do you now see its time to start making healthier lifestyle changes?
Yet where do you begin? If you haven’t been to a gym in awhile, it can be an intimidating process. Then too, cancer treatment will sap your strength and resolve. Chemotherapy drugs, radiation, or surgery often cause overwhelming fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea or constipation, weakness and more, all things that reduce your resolve to get the needed exercise that will reduce or relieve these symptoms. Your mind may say, ‘I need the exercise’, but your body is saying, ‘I can’t do it’, ‘I’m afraid’, ‘It won’t make a difference’, or ‘I’m just too sore or tired’.
At this point you need to realize, its your life we are talking about, and if you want to improve your life, its time to start moving. If you can only do one thing, just get out and walk. Take 30 minutes or an hour a day, and walk around your neighborhood. Meandering with your dog isn’t nearly as good as a really quick walk. Then start by getting to the gym at least once a week. Now here’s the important part. If you haven’t been to the gym before, or if your body has been depleted with cancer treatments, you will need a personal trainer skilled in working with cancer patients.
Look for a gym that can provide you with individualized training and the personalized support specialized in working with cancer and overweight patients. This will help you renew your energy while rebuilding your body. Regardless of your current abilities or challenges, there is no need to worry what others will think of your current skills or progress. Often a boutique exercise facility, featuring individualized training and small classes with professionals who understand your cancer journey, will be best.
If you still need one more reason to exercise, then hear this! A new 2016 study found fat cells in adipose tissue surrounding the prostate in overweight men make a chemokine called CCL7. This links with a prostate cancer chemical labeled CCR3, causing the cancer to spread while becoming much more aggressive, and creating a much greater chance of recurrence after treatment. Simply put, fat acts to draw out the cancer from prostates and spread it around the body. From this study they learned the more overweight you are, the bigger your gut, the greater chance you will have difficult to treat, aggressive prostate cancer.
The solution is simple, If you like living, start eating right and exercise today!