Cancer is such a huge threat to our lives, it claims 7.6 million lives a year worldwide, 4 million of those are premature deaths (people under 69). 1 in 3 people will develop a form of cancer at some stage of their life. But it is not all doom and gloom, lately more and more research has been praising the benefits of exercise as a method to prevent multiple ailments and diseases including cancer.
In 2010 a study found that 3.4% of breast cancer, 3.8% of endometrial cancer and 3.5% of colon cancer cases could be prevented if people engaged in physical activity for just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. This simple exercise regime would save 3,000 lives every year in the UK alone.
More recent research from Loyola University has concluded that exercise can halve the risk of death in cancer survivors. This research was published in the ‘Journal of Physical Activity and Health’. The study’s co-author Kathleen Wolin believes “physical activity should be actively promoted to such individuals to enhance longevity”.
The study referred to data from ‘Harvard’s Alumni Health Study’, which accumulated information on men who attended Harvard between 1916 and 1950.
In 1988, 1,021 survivors of cancer completed detailed questionnaires about their exercise habits, including sports, walking and climbing stairs. A follow up questionnaire was issued in 1993. At the start of the study the participants were all 71 years old and had been diagnosed with a type of cancer (except non-melanoma skin cancer).
The results revealed that men who exercised and burnt ≥12,600 calories a week (1,800 a day) were 38% less likely to die from another case of cancer, 49% less likely to suffer heart disease and 48% less likely to die from any other disease, compared to men who burnt ≤2,100 calories a week (300 a day).
Martin Ledwick from Cancer Research UK said “exercise can help reduce the chance of getting cancer in the first place.” Additionally he commented that “previous studies have also suggested exercise can help some people feel better after being diagnosed and cope better with fatigue related cancer and its treatment.”
Exercise seems to be a powerful tool to prevent and fight cancer. It enables the immune systems tumour fighting T-cells to repair themselves, lowers blood levels of insulin which is linked to the development of breast, prostate and uterine lining cancers, and exercise reduces obesity which is the cause of so many problems.
Don’t wait a day longer establish your exercise routine now to give yourself the best chance of living a strong and healthy life for as long as possible.