Everyone fears cancer, and most people want to do everything possible to prevent it. Especially if you have a history of cancer in your family, you need to be vigilant, look after your health, get regular checkups, and watch your diet. You can also reduce your risk of cancer by exercising regularly. This is because the most common risk factor for cancer isn’t genetic – it’s rooted in lifestyle.
Many types of cancer are due to excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle, and this includes the two most common cancers- colorectal cancer and breast cancer.
Did you know that women who exercise regularly are far less likely to develop breast cancer than those who don’t? This is because a sedentary lifestyle leads to an increase in estrogen production, whereas exercise lowers the level of estrogen in the blood. Breast cancer is linked to estrogen. Women who exercise actually have a 30-40% lower chance of developing breast cancer than their sedentary sisters.
Okay, so you’re menopausal, your estrogen levels have dropped, and you think that gives you a pass. Wrong! In menopausal women, estrogen is produced in the fat cells. Get the connection? Women who don’t exercise have more fat cells.
With colon cancer, you can cut your risk by about 20% if you exercise regularly. When you exercise, the way that your digestive acids work changes for the better, and your insulin levels are lowered. This is believed to protect against colon cancer.
You really can’t exercise too much. You should shoot for at least half an hour a day on at least five days out of the week. To get the maximum benefit, try for an hour each day. Even walking will protect you against the risk of cancer, but if you do weight training or cardio, your protection will increase exponentially.
Swimming is also a great activity, or you could participate in team sports. Go dancing – you’ll have an enjoyable social experience and get a workout as well. Don’t neglect the little things that can add exercise to your life, either. Instead of sending an email or making a phone call to a neighbor, why not walk over and visit in person. Forego the elevator in favor of the stairs. Carry your groceries to the car instead of having the bag boy do it – every little bit helps.
When it comes to cancer, you want all the protection you can get. So get out there, and get active!