Regular exercise is vital for healthy living. Doctors recommend incorporating some form of physical activity into your schedule to improve your quality of life. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, improves your stamina, and strengthens your body. Its benefits extend beyond physical health, as it boosts your mental health and mood, reduces stress, and improves sleep quality.
If you’re not already exercising, here’s another reason you should consider including it in your routine. Research shows that exercise can prevent long-term diseases like heart problems and diabetes and reduce the risk of certain cancers like colon cancer.
But can exercise prevent colon cancer?
Exercise and Its Types
Exercise is any form of physical activity or movement that improves or maintains fitness and overall health. It has a higher intensity than your other daily activities. It develops your bones and muscles and increases your heart rate. There are four main types of exercises:
- Endurance exercises. These include aerobic exercises or cardio to increase your breathing and heart rate. They also include brisk walking, jogging, dancing, swimming, cycling, climbing, or playing sports like tennis or basketball.
- Strength exercises. These exercises improve bone and muscle strength. They include lifting weights, gripping a ball, arm curls, resistance band exercises, or push-ups.
- Balance exercises. They help improve balance and include activities like yoga and tai chi.
- Flexibility exercises. These exercises include stretching to improve flexibility.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, you must include 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercises or 75 to 100 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercises per week for healthy living.
Does Exercise Reduce Cancer Risk?
Colon cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer. About one in 23 men (4.4%) and one in 25 women (4.1%) are at risk of developing colon cancer in their lifetime. However, research shows that exercising regularly may prevent 15% of colon cancers.
A meta-analysis of 126 studies revealed that people who exercise had a 19% lower risk of developing colon cancer than those who didn’t. Studies also showed that physical activity in patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer was associated with a 30% lower risk of death due to cancer. Another study revealed that one hour of exercise per week was associated with a lower risk of polyps, which are lumps of cells that can grow into colon cancer.
Although the exact cause is unclear, researchers believe that exercise protects your body from colon cancer risk factors, including obesity, inflammation, and oxidative stress. Aerobic exercise promotes anti-inflammatory effects, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and prevents oxidative cell damage. This helps improve body function and prevents the formation of polyps and colon cancer.
Preventing Colon Cancer
To reap the benefits of exercise and prevent colon cancer, start incorporating intensive physical activity into your day. Set a target to include a few hours of physical activity a week and increase it over time. You can walk, jog, do yoga, join the gym, or play sports. You can also do different exercises to improve your physical and mental fitness.
Along with exercise, the best way to prevent colon cancer is to get regular screenings. Colorectal screening involves tests that help detect early signs of cancer before you start developing symptoms. Consult a qualified doctor for colorectal screening. They’ll help you with all your concerns and identify which tests are right for you.
If you wish to get regular screenings, book an appointment with NVSCC today. Our expert healthcare professionals will guide you along your journey to well-being.