Can exercise help fight cancer? And why, despite all of the resources available do people choose not to exercise? The benefits of exercise are apparent: improved cardiovascular endurance, lower blood pressure, reduced depression and anxiety, and improved self-esteem and body image. Further, studies show that physical fitness is also a key contributor in the battle against cancer.
It has been shown that exercise is linked to a lower risk of colon and rectal cancer. Some of the strongest evidence yet indicates that the risk of bowel cancer can be reduced by 50% in people who exercised regularly, even when diet, smoking and obesity were considered. Also, research indicates that women of all ages can reduce the risk of breast cancer through regular exercise and, research shows it is never to late to start. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) argues that post-menopausal women can reduce the risk of developing cancer by up to 20% through exercise. Researchers found that physical activity reduced the risk for women who may have a greater chance of developing the disease, including those with a family history of breast cancer or those taking hormone replacement therapy.
If the evidence is so convincing and the power of exercise in the fight against cancer so strong, why don’t more men and women participate? Perhaps it is because the benefits of exercise and physical fitness only accrue through rigorous activity. No, this is not at all the case. Any moderate level of exercise provides the benefit. The studies included manual work, hiking and gardening as well as sports. Moderate exercise, such as walking, cycling or swimming, five times a week had the greatest impact. Those who do not exercise regularly should start off slowly, increasing their physical activity over time.
For someone whose idea of exercise is to walk to the refrigerator the notion of physical activity five days a week may seem daunting. Therefore, it is necessary to create an environment where physical activity becomes part of one’s life. Set a series of specific and achievable short-term goals. The first week plan to walk on three days for 15 minutes at a time. Slowly build the number of days and the duration of the activity until you reach your ultimate goal. The momentum from your early success will provide the motivation to tackle each slightly larger challenge. Do not give in to the temptation of excuses; if you can justify compromising one day it is even easier to justify compromising subsequent days.
Not only does exercise provide tangible physical health benefits and cancer fighting power, it will also improve mental wellness. Physical and mental health support each other. There is a balance and harmony between activities that will nourish then mind and body and those that feed the soul.
One can achieve any dream or goal by insuring that their daily actions are consistent with their core beliefs. The individual is assured of success because positive life changes are in harmony with their value system and motivated by their desire to aid their favorite charity or non-profit through a charitable giving program. As the individual encounters daily success they begin to realize that they are in control of their life, able to make proactive and positive decisions, and gain self-confidence.