Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. (World Health Organization, 1948)
When you get cancer and are going through treatment, doctors have been recommending that you take it easy and don’t exercise much. Well, it turns out that this advice is wrong and that exercise can reduce the risk of dying from cancer and also minimize the side effects caused by the treatment. This recommendation comes from a report by Macmillan Cancer Support.
The report says getting active can help you overcome the effects of cancer and its treatments, such as fatigue and weight gain. Previous research has shown that exercising to the recommended levels can reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence by up to 30 percent. Bowel cancer patients’ risk of dying from the disease can be cut by around 50 percent by doing around six hours of moderate physical activity a week.
Harvard Medical School researchers found patients who exercise moderately, 3 to 5 hours a week, reduced their odds of dying from breast cancer by about 50% as compared to sedentary women. The benefit even remained constant regardless of whether women were diagnosed early on or after their cancer had spread.
For men, 3 hours per week of moderate-intensity physical activity lowered the risk of prostate cancer death by about 30% and also lowered the rate of the disease progressing by 57%.
Exercise can even reduce the side effects from conventional cancer treatments, such as:
As Jane Maher, chief medical officer of Macmillan Cancer Support and clinical oncologist said “if physical exercise were a drug, it would be hitting the headlines". So…if you have a friend or loved one who has cancer, urge them to start getting active and getting a moderate level of exercise (including strengthen training).