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The Role of Physical Fitness in Fighting Cancer

January 28, 2012

I don’t know of anyone who cancer has not touched. We may not all have the disease, but likely someone we know does or did have it. Cancer does not discriminate by age, race, gender or based on your income. We are all up for grabs…and the cost we can pay is quite dear.

I wanted to share this article submitted to me by a guest blogger, David Haas, who lives in New York. He is very passionate about possible cancer prevention and treatment through means such as exercise. We can’t say that if you exercise, you are never going to get cancer. But we also need to be responsible in our own lives and realize that if we do exercise and reduce our stress levels, this is going to help us have a chance of fighting off any disease…and have happier lives.

So in the final days of my FITNESS CHALLENGE, I would like to share David’s article with you, ‘The Role of Physical Fitness in Fighting Cancer.’

While many people readily accept that eating the right foods is an essential tool in the fight against cancer, not as many realize how vital it is to live a healthy lifestyle as well. For those who have already battled cancer and are doing their best to prevent the disease from reoccurring, keeping physically fit by maintain daily exercise may assist in keeping cancer from coming back.

According to the studies cited by the National Cancer Institute, adults who engaged in physical activity stood a 30 to 40 percent lower chance of developing colon cancer than those who did not participate. For patients battling breast cancer, studies have shown that women who are physically active stand a 20 percent lower chance of developing breast cancer than patients that remain inactive.

Survivors of cancer also appear to be reaping benefits from physical fitness. The best example of this was found in breast cancer survivors, who for years were told to only lift very light objects. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, breast cancer survivors who underwent strength training during treatment   experienced less occurrences of lymphedema, an uncomfortable swelling that often occurs in breast cancer survivors.

Furthermore, a person does not have to engage in highly rigorous physical activity to enjoy the cancer-fighting powers of being physically fit. Moderate levels of physical activity for 30 minutes a day, five days of the week, are recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The National Cancer Institute cites a study in which women with breast cancer who enjoyed moderate levels of walking three times a week had greater survival rates than their sedentary counterparts.

Although the studies conducted on the role of physical fitness and cancer are promising, experts still aren’t entirely agreed about why a physically fit person may be better equipped to deal with cancer than a sedentary person. One possible explanation is that physical fitness plays a vital role in keeping a body’s energy balanced, along with proper weight and diet. It is believed that energy balance can be helpful in fighting cancer, whether you are working on fighting a preventative battle against a family history of breast cancer or undergoing mesothelioma treatment.

David Haas, Awareness Program Advocate

Joining the organization in 2011, David Haas is a cancer support group and awareness program advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. David often blogs about programs and campaigns underway at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, as well as creative fitness ideas for those dealing with cancer, while creating relationships with similar organizations.




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