When our skeletal muscles move and produce some movement in our body, it causes some energy to be spent. This movement which causes burning of energy is called physical activity. It is considered an important factor responsible for balance in energy.
It has been established by numerous studies that physical activity can have a great impact on a person’s health. It helps to control weight, maintain healthy joints, muscles and bones, reduces the risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, reduces the risk of heart problems and premature death, too.
According to the recommendations of the Centers Disease Control and Prevention, adults should maintain their schedules to include physical activity of moderate intensity for half an hour five or more days a week or physical activity of high intensity for 20 minutes three or more days a week.
Physical activity and cancer - What Studies say...
Researchers are now pointing out that low level physical activity can have an effect on the risk of cancer. However, there is sufficient evidence to establish that regular physical activity can reduce the risk of some types of cancers like those of the breast and colon. Some studies also suggest that physical activity could reduce the risk of prostate cancer, lung cancer and endometrial cancer. It is sad that though people are aware of the benefits of physical activity, less than 50% of Americans indulge in regular physical activity.
The relation between physical activity and colorectal cancer has been studied extensively and many studies conducted in the US as well as some other countries have determined that adults involved in regular physical activity have 30 to 40% lower risk of colon cancer in comparison with those who do not exercise at all. Moreover, the intensity of physical activity is proportional to the reduction in risk. At least half an hour to one hour of physical activity everyday can prove to be very effective in protection against cancer.
There have also been numerous studies about physical activity and breast cancer and most of them suggest that women who are physically active have lesser chances of getting breast cancer compared to women who are inactive, irrespective of the fact that the women has had her menopause or not. There were other factors also to consider, like BMI levels of women, intensity, duration and frequency of physical activity and age. However, half an hour to an hour of exercise everyday could be a woman’s best bet to reduce the risk of breast cancer.
Some studies have been conducted to explore a link between the risk of endometrial cancer and physical activity. These studies found out that, irrespective of age, physically active women have a 20 to 40% lower risk of endometrial cancer compared to inactive women.
Some studies about physical activity and lung cancer show that physically active adults can reduce their risk of lung cancer by 20% by engaging in physical activity regularly. Up on further analysis it was also found that though physical activity protects against lung cancer, it cannot control the negative effects of smoking.
How physical activity protects against cancer
First and foremost, physical activity helps maintain the energy balance of an individual. It helps reduce fatigue and restores hormone levels which can help ward off hormone responsive cancers, especially in the case of women. It also reduces inflammation and boosts your immune system, so that your body can fight infections which lead to cancer.
Improvement in insulin resistance is another positive effect of regular moderate to vigorous physical activity. Physical activity keeps obesity at bay, which is considered as a major risk factor for cancer. Even if you don’t control your diet considerably, physical activity can help you maintain an ideal body weight.
Though physical activity might not be a foolproof way to protect you from cancer, it can still help reduce the risk and even enhance the process of recovery after cancer diagnosis and treatment.
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