You Can Fight! You have the power to fight against cancer, but how? According to the American Cancer Society by getting sufficient physical activity and eating healthy foods in moderation, an individual’s risk of developing cancer can be greatly reduced. Although, studies have shown the benefit, 38% of adults do not engage in any physical activity and only 1 in 8 participates in vigorous exercise for the recommended 5 times a week. Why are Americans not exercising even though the benefits are clear in every day news? I remember my grandmother once asked me, “Why is there so much news about exercise? We did not have to do this when we were young.” Even though she did participate in physical exercise with her work and daily tasks, she did not realize the benefits she was receiving.
In today’s world, we do not have to move if we do not want to. Everything is convenient including the fastest food (although not the most healthy). We have the luxury of modern technology and the luxury of “jobs” being done with little physical effort; therefore, we have to schedule our time to exercise.
The American Cancer Society states that obesity and physical inactivity may account for 25 to 30% of several major cancers, including colon, post-menopausal breast, endometrial, kidney and cancer of the esophagus. So what are we to do? The following exercise guidelines have become the standard recommendations as reported by the American College of Sports Medicine and American Heart Association.
- Do moderately intense cardio 30 minutes a day, five days a week Or Do vigorously intense cardio 20 minutes a day, 3 days a week and Do eight to 10 strength-training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week.
Moderate-intensity physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat, yet still being able to carry on a conversation. If your goal is currently to lose weight or maintain weight loss, 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity may be necessary.
Exercise, along with regular exams can help fight cancer early on, but what about cancer survivors? In over nine studies by the British Journal of Sports Medicine, exercise was proven to decrease the risk of death in cancer survivors. I was amazed to learn that in the same studies, 3 hours a week of moderate-intensity exercise was associated with a 50%-53% lower risk of death in breast cancers survivors. Of course living longer can be an incentive to exercise, but we want a higher quality of life as we live. A national survey of more than 9,000 cancer survivors found that those who met the recommended guidelines for physical activity was associated with a higher healthy related quality of life, including less pain and fewer difficulties with daily task.