The Importance of Exercise for Cancer Prevention and Recurrence

By David Novak

Cancer is known as one the prevalent diseases in the world today. Every year millions of people are afflicted by this life-threatening disease. Cancer is a class of diseases wherein cells grow out of control. These cancerous cells can even spread to other parts of the body and destroy healthy tissues.

There is no proven way to completely prevent cancer, but there are steps that can lower your risk or keep it from occurring or recurring. Eating a healthy diet is always on the top of the list when it comes to cancer prevention. Certain components of food are found to help in lowering the risk of cancer, such as antioxidants, phytochemicals and omega-3 fatty acids. Physical activity may also reduce cancer risk by enhancing the immune system, preventing obesity, and reducing hormone levels and inflammation.

Surviving cancer is a major accomplishment of every cancer victim. It gives them a new priority in life, which is to prevent cancer from recurring. Same with cancer prevention during cancer treatment. Good food allows cancer victims to replenish all the nutrients that were loss during cancer treatment, as well as boost their weakened immune system. Exercise is also a great way in staving off cancer recurrence. Being physically active doesn’t mean you have to work out for hours. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercises each day.


Overweight and obesity have long been associated with many types of cancer. The best way to prevent prevalent diseases such as cancer is to maintain a healthy physique by means of proper nutrition and exercise. As stated by the World Health Organization, limiting weight gain during adulthood can reduce the risk of certain cancers such as colon cancer, renal cell cancer, thyroid cancer and postmenopausal breast cancer.

?        Colon cancer – based on research from the National Cancer Institute, there is a 40% to 50% lower risk of colon cancer to those people who exercise regularly. Some evidence also shows that those who maintain an active lifestyle throughout their lives have the lowest risk.

?        Lung cancer – studies shows that those who exercise have lowered risk of developing lung cancer, though there is still no significant evidence to support this claim. Some say that this is because those who exercise are less likely to use tobacco.

?        Breast cancer – research shows that those who exercise from moderate to vigorous levels (three hours per week) have a 30% to 40% reduced risk of developing breast cancer.

?        Uterine cancer – there is a 38% to 46 % lower risk for uterine cancer for women who exercise regularly. Exercise reduces the risk of obesity as well as decreasing the estrogen level, which are both factors in uterine cancer development.EXERCISE AFTER CANCER

Many oncologists have asserted that moderate physical activity can improve the wellbeing of cancer survivors. A majority of studies that use supervised exercise programs show that physical activity has beneficial effects on the physical fitness of cancer survivors. Several positive effects can be seen in their functional capacity, physical well-being, functional well-being and self-esteem, among others. Based on another study made by L.M. Oldervoll, there is indeed a promising effect of exercise during and after cancer treatment.

Exercise should be moderate for at least 2-3 hours a week. Moderate exercise is when you are doing a physical activity that increases your breathing and heart rate. This is done at a comfortable pace where you can still be able to hold a conversation. Before starting any exercise regime, discuss with your doctor the type and amount of exercise that is considered safe for you. Every cancer survivor has different limitations, thus what the others can do may be unsuitable for you.

Here are several benefits of exercise for cancer survivors:

?        reduce cancer recurrence

?        faster metabolism

?        better weight control and management

?        lower blood pressure

?        improved flexibility

?        improved cardiovascular function

?        improved blood sugar regulation

?        greater endurance

?        improved cholesterol profiles

?        better coordination and balance

?        strengthened immune system

?        prevention of osteoporosis

?        less depression and anxietyPhysical activities you can do:

?        Start a daily walking routine in your neighborhood.

?        Ride your bike

?        Scrub your bathroom

?        Walk to lunch

?        Use the stairs instead of the elevator

?        Use an exercise bike or treadmill

?        Weed your garden

?        Dance to your favorite tune

?        YogaDavid Novak’s byline has appeared in newspapers and magazines around the world.  He’s an avid health enthusiast, and frequently is featured in regional and national health publications. He is also a weekly writer for Healthline.  To visit his other stories on Healthline, visit



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