You might ask, “How can an active life stave off cancer?”
Sedentary bodies results into slow peristaltic movements of the colon. Consequently, cancer-causing chemicals that we ingest through food stay in contact with the mucosa of the colon for an extended time. If this happens, it gives time for these chemicals to create damage to the DNA structure of the mucosa cells. Conversely, physical activity hastens the transit of food from the colon and prevents too much contact of harmful chemicals.
Physical activity reduces weight if we’re obese and maintains our ideal weight. Lack of exercise leads to fat deposits, we become obese with a higher percentage of fat in our bodies. Estrogen, a culprit in most breast cancers, isn’t only produced in the ovary but also in fat tissues. So, being obese means a higher production of hormones. This additional estrogen burden promotes the growth of tumors in the cervix, endometrium, ovaries and breasts.
Exercise Reduces Sex Hormone (Estrogen) Blood Levels
It was shown that athletes participating in intensive sports training have amenorrhea episodes. 24 % of marathon female runners in intensive training experienced amenorrhea or absence of menses. Irregular menstruation occurred in 60% of women participating in elite cross country ski. Regular training for 3 months can reduce estrogen production. This reveals that intensive physical activity burns off fat tissues – the source of extra estrogen. This is the reason for the disruption of monthly menstrual cycles.
This phenomenon is reversible. When female athletes go back to their normal lives their monthly cycles are re-established and can become pregnant. This proves that estrogen regulates the menstrual cycle. Early breast cancer growth and some breast cancer mutations are dependent on estrogen.
Exercise Prolongs Life After Diagnosis
The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston enlightens patients on the benefits of exercise. Studies show that patients who started exercising after their diagnosis live longer than ones who don’t. That exercise corresponds to a 60 minute walk six days a week.
Here’s an interesting story! Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found a significant correlation between the level of activity and survival of cancer patients. This correlation doesn’t prove that exercise solely was the reason for a longer survival span. Nevertheless, the data points to the value of physical activity.
How Exercise Work on Our Bodies
Physical activity increases our resiliency which aids us get through the rigors of cancer treatments. Additionally, regular exercise influences our immune system. The right amount of exercise boosts our immune system that combats cancer cells which hinder or inhibit tumor growth.
Exercise fights off the fatigue syndrome often experienced by cancer patients as a result of cancer or their treatment. It excellently alleviates the side effect of radiation and chemo.
Exercise doesn’t need to be a daunting activity or an organized outing that you force yourself upon to do. Simply integrating exercise into your daily life such as brisk walking, doing simple housework or climbing the stairs can produce rewards. Taking a walk around your neighborhood for some early sunshine and fresh air or romping around with Fido in your yard for example can be fun. Just do it five times a week at most for 30 minutes at a time.
Exercise alone will not cure cancer. However, exercise in combination with standard cancer care and a healthy diet of 5 to 10 servings of functional foods a day can give us a better chance to cope with cancer. By doing so, we transform our bodies into a hostile environment for cancer. Our bodies, also the cancer battle field when modified is primed to our advantage. This is the first step to win that crucial war!