Whilst a link between exercise and good health is fairly intuitive, many people do not realise how dramatic the link is.
A recent study conducted by researchers at Bristol University, which comprehensively reviewed over 182 prior studies, showed that regular physical activity could decrease your risk of cancer by as much as 50%.
Exercise was shown to have a significant impact upon the prevention of, and recovery from, bowel cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and even endometrial cancer.
Focusing in on studies specifically related to bowel cancer, the researchers found that regular exercise could cut the risk of developing bowel cancer by 40 to 50%.
Looking at 52 studies relating to exercise and breast cancer, they discovered that women who regularly exercised had an average 30% reduction in their breast cancer risk.
A separate review of 40 different studies, published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice 2010, spanning from 2006 to 2010 showed that aside from quitting smoking, getting more exercise was the single biggest thing somebody could do to improve their health. In fact, exercise reduced the risk of over 24 different major physical and mental conditions.
The American Cancer Association estimates that 14-20% of cancer deaths are due to obesity and that 24.2% of American adults do no exercise whatsoever. In some states it was as high as 33% of adults.
The thing with regular activity is that you should not simply look at it as a way to improve the health of your heart and lungs, it also helps your body move the fluid in your lymphatic system, which is an integral part of your immune system.
Your blood is pumped around your body by your heart, but your lymphatic system, which carries white blood cells and helps your body to detoxify, does not have its own pumping mechanism. It relies upon the movement of your muscles to push the fluid around your body.
I am sure the lymphatic system was not designed to operate effectively for somebody who sits all day at a desk, who then sits in their car on their way home, to sit in front of the TV, before lying in bed. How does this lifestyle encourage your immune system to circulate effectively, and remove the build-up of toxins from your system?
So yes, 45 min of reasonably strenuous exercise three times per week, or 30 minutes five times per week, or even 20 min per day would be great (even if it is just a brisk walk around the block), but really you should find an excuse to move around for 10 minutes every hour or so.
I no longer think of exercise as being “exercise”, I think of it as a way to power up my immune system and detoxify my body by pumping my lymphatic system.
It is also a good idea to try and find activities that do not seem like exercise. Playing catch or frisbee with your kids, walking round the block hand-in-hand with your spouse after dinner, discussing your day, or using the stairs instead of the elevator, add little incremental boosts to your general health. It isn’t just about heading to the gym to grind out some quality time on the treadmill. It can be as easy as doing a few squats, or sit-ups in front of your favourite TV show. Or even marching on the spot during the ad breaks. Make it a game.
Another function of exercise is that it increases your body’s production of its own natural antioxidants, which decreases the impact of free radicals (that age your tissues and increase the risk of cancer). Long-term activity helps you to maintain the number of mitochondria in your cells, which normally decrease in size and number as you age.
Mitochondria are responsible for converting sugar into energy, so this age-related reduction can predispose you to gaining weight.
Keeping active therefore has the triple effect of pumping your lymphatic system, increasing your levels of antioxidants and enabling you to burn more calories while at rest, (which helps you to maintain a healthy bodyweight).
Just find reasons to move your body and it will serve you much better in the long-run. Don’t even think of it as short-term improvements, but consider that in retirement, it is the difference between actively participating in life (and family), or having to watch it from your armchair or sick-bed.
If you enjoyed this article, then why not take a look at Cancer Uncensored – Your Step By Step Guide to Cancer Prevention, Early Detection and Cancer Survival.
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