Do you know someone who has (or had) breast cancer? Or lung cancer?
My guess is you answered yes to one or both of those questions.
According to the National Cancer Institute, lung and breast cancer are the most common in the United States.
Okay . . . this isn’t meant to depress you. So I’m going to turn this discussion around. Over the last few weeks we have covered what you should NOT do in terms of cancer prevention. Now we’re getting to the fun part.
The part where we talk about the FUN (and of course, evidence-based) things you CAN do to prevent cancer.
Because, as you know by now, 5 million cases of cancer can be prevented each year.
So what is the ONE thing you can do this weekend to prevent lung and breast cancer (the most common cancers)?
You know, exercise, ejercicio, moving your body. You get it, right?
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY PREVENTS CANCER
It’s true. Physical activity prevents cancer.
It is hypothesized that physical activity directly effects levels of various hormones and growth factors in the body. Physical activity also improves your body’s sensitivity to insulin as well as decreasing oxidative stress and inflammatory markers. Furthermore, physical activity indirectly decreases cancer risk by lowering the risk of being obese or overweight.
Bottom line: physical activity both directly and indirectly decreases the risk of breast and lung cancer.
What Counts as Physical Activity?
If thoughts of slaving away on a treadmill are filling you with dread, don’t worry.
Because there are TONS of ways you can get physical activity.
According to the studies showing physical activity reduces cancer risk, any bodily movement that results in increased energy expenditure (above resting) counts.
So if you like treadmills and running, do it! If that’s not your cup of tea, do something else. Go for a hike this weekend. Ride a bike. Take a vigorous walk. Go to a yoga class. Take a spinning, barre, or boot camp class. Dig out your roller blades from the back of the closet. Grab some weights or use your body weight for resistance training. You get the picture. Find something you enjoy, but is also physically challenging, and do it!
And while you’re at it, do it on both weekend days.
OTHER REASONS TO MOVE YOUR BODY
If preventing breast and lung cancer isn’t enough, there are literally hundreds of other reasons to engage in physical activity.
Here are just a few reasons to move your body:
- Exercise decreases your risk of type 2 diabetes
- Exercise help keep blood pressure at healthy levels
- Physical activity is associated with improved mood
- Physical activity decreases perception of pain
Seriously. It’s hard to argue against exercise.
Even better is physical activity can be free. That’s right —no matter your budget, you can do something.
My personal practice is to do something every single day. Some days that means hiking. Other days it’s running, biking, or going to an exercise class.
What do you do? What do you plan to start this weekend? Shoot me a message — I’d love to hear all about it!
In health and happiness,