Hats off to those of you who have raced in a fund raising effort to fight cancer!
As many of you know cancer is the second leading cause of death in America right behind heart disease (www.cdc.gov/men/lcod/index.htm). The good news is that research continues to support the very exercise you are performing in those races as a way to help fight cancer for others as well as yourself.
Studies show that exercise (in particular exercise the helps people maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress) can decrease the risk of certain cancers. Nearly 170 observational epidemiological studies of physical activity and cancer risk at a number of specific cancer sites have been conducted. The evidence for decreased risk with increased physical activity is classified as convincing for breast and colon cancers, probable for prostate cancer as well as possible for lung and endometrial cancers (Friedenreich, C., Orenstein, M. 2002, Physical Activity and Cancer Prevention: Etiologic Evidence and Biological Mechanisms. The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 132:3456S-3464S, November 2002).
The American Cancer Society recommends getting at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous paced exercise five or more days per week. Scientists are not exactly sure how physical activity prevents cancer but suspect it relates to body mass, hormone levels, metabolism and stress reduction. Exercise can help reduce obesity, which has been shown to increase the risk of several cancers. It can also change the body's hormone levels, which might also have a favorable effect.
The increase in metabolism caused by exercise is thought to speed up the passage of indigestible foods, reducing the time that the colon lining is in contact with certain carcinogenic agents. And last but not least numerous studies have linked unhealthy stress levels and lack of proper sleep habits to immune deficiencies and certain types of cancer. In fact, a recent study presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's Seventh Annual International Conference on Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research suggests that regular physical activity can lower a woman's overall risk of cancer – but only if she gets a good night's sleep. Otherwise, lack of sleep can undermine exercise's cancer prevention benefits.
So what exercise tops my list of cancer fighting workouts? Well that is easy; walking! Why? Because it does it all….
• Can be done by almost anybody, anywhere
• Burns plenty of calories
• Helps you clear your mind and reduce mental stress
• Offers an opportunity to get in touch with nature (when done outdoors)
• Allows for talk time with a friend or loved one
• Trains your heart and lungs without exhausting you for the rest of your day
• Acts as natural tranquilizer leading to a better nights sleep
Although most research has focused on physical activity in cancer prevention, evidence is increasing that exercise also influences other aspects of cancer survival, including cancer detection, coping and rehabilitation after diagnosis.
Join the Walking Challenge Today and start on your way to a healthier you!
Don’t forget the important roll proper nutrition and supplementation can also play in a healthy cancer free lifestyle. Calcium has been found to play a crucial role in breast health and vitamin D for colon health. Try a liquid calcium and vitamin D supplement for optimal absorption. Liquid supplements have been found to to be more easily absorbed than pills or tablet form.