Sunday, January 11, 2015

Physical Activity Reduces Risks Of Cancer

Healthy Lifestyle

Have you made physical activity a more important part of your life? If you haven’t, you might want to start now.

During chemo my physical activity consisted only of walking at least a few times of week. Now, I am doing more, as my strength, endurance and ability to exercise has increased. Both my oncologist and family physician said exercise would be good for me and my over-all health. I was always a very active person, and used to be a competitive tennis player. I hope to play at least a few sets this summer.

Exercise is good for both physical health and mental health; during exercise, the human body releases endorphins, which acts as a natural analgesic. Equally important, exercise has also been shown to counter depression, as this article, from WebMD, shows:
These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
Another thought: In terms of things that we all can do to improve our well-being, there are the Big Three: healthy eating (diet), exercise and positive support from family, friends and community.

Then there is reducing the cancer risk. A National Cancer Institute report suggests rather strongly that physical activity reduces the risk of cancer. Here are the key take-away points:
  • Physical activity is a critical component of energy balance, the term researchers use to describe how weight, diet, and physical activity influence health.
  • There is strong evidence that physical activity is associated with reduced risk of cancers of the colon and breast.
  • Several studies have also reported links between physical activity and reduced risk of endometrial (lining of the uterus), lung, and prostate cancers.
  • Current National Cancer Institute-funded studies are exploring the role of physical activity in cancer survivorship and quality of life, cancer risk, and the needs of populations at increased risk.
So, it’s important to get moving, even when it’s cold outside, as is the case five to six months of the year here in Canada, the Great White North. While this is an obstacle, it should not be a deterrent. There are now ways around it. For example, there are indoor gyms and all sorts of indoor gym equipment that are suitable for homes and apartments. In my residential complex, there is a small gym that hardly anyone uses. 
It’s time that I take advantage of it and get my heart pumping more oxygenated blood to the muscles, and get my brain releasing those wonderful endorphins.

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