When we are physically active practically all processes in the body are positively affected. Exercise or physical activity has also been shown to provide a very positive addition to cancer care, alongside other treatment measures, such as diet.
When we exercise and give our hearts a workout it affects us right down to the cellular level: perfusion and oxygen absorption increases in the blood vessels which affects the body’s ability to repair itself and regenerate cells. The body can thus better tackle “problems” such as infections and inflammations that, according to the research of the last few decades, have been shown to contribute to the development of major serious diseases like heart infarctions and cancer.
Physical activity also leads to a more effective metabolism, a better hormonal status and generally to better “cleansing” of the body. “Cleansing” here refers to how toxins and other unwanted substances are processed by the liver, kidneys and other organs. Physical activity optimizes bodily functions.
Swedish researchers have under the leadership of Alicja Wolk gathered data from 40,000 men in Västmanland and Örebro county. The men who participated in the study were between 45 and 79 years of age.
In 1998 they took part in detailed surveys about their life habits, pertaining among other things to exercise, diet and smoking. They were then followed until 2004. During this time 3714 of the men developed cancer and 1153 died of cancer.
Comparisons between the healthy men and those affected highlight exercise as an important protective factor, especially in terms of ability to handle disease and to avoid cancer deaths. Men who walked or bicycled 30 minutes a day increased their chances of cancer survival by 34 percent.
More difficult however was to observe effects correlating to the risk of getting cancer. A reduced likelihood of becoming ill required more exercise. 60 minutes of physical activity per day decreased the likelihood of developing cancer by 16 percent, according to the comparisons.
Source: British Journal of Cancer
David Servan-Schreiber points to studies that show that an otherwise entirely healthy lifestyle has little effect on life expectancy if it doesn’t include exercise. The likelihood of survival increases by more than 30 percent when exercise is added to the regime, a fact that fits well with the findings in the Swedish study cited above.
Beginning to exercise a little every day, and exercising in a more pulse-increasing way a couple of times a week, is a “miracle method” when it comes to reducing the risk of disease and ill health. The consolation for those who have yet to begin regular physical activity is that is really never is too late to begin.
1 + 1 = 3
There is much to be gained by being physically active at least half an hour a day – active in the sense that the heart gets a little extra work – and trying to eat wisely as well.