Many of you know my first passion in life is health, fitness, and wellness (of which taking care of your skin is part). I have spoken at businesses, colleges, high schools, and the military on this topic. I belong to several health and wellness groups to help keep me abreast of research, changes and new discoveries. An important discovery was released last month and I wanted to share it with you.
There’s a vast body of evidence linking regular exercise to decreased risk of certain cancers – including bladder, breast, colorectal, and gastric cancers – by up to 20%. A recent study looked at how exercise lowers cancer risk. The study tracked cardio and respiratory fitness and immune cells—natural killer cells and a certain type of T cell—in the blood and colon tissues. These immune cells are in charge of attacking foreign entities, like cancer cells.
Participants who were genetically predisposed to cancer were divided into two groups. One was given a 12-month exercise program, and the other was not. The exercise group engaged in high intensity exercise (cycling) 45 minutes three days a week.
The exercise group saw a significant increase in immune cells along with a drop in inflammatory markers. This combination, the researchers believe, relate to a boost in the body’s immune surveillance system for hunting down and clearing out cells that would otherwise become cancerous. This was the first study of its kind to show a link between exercise and changes in immune response.
Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease. The American Cancer Society states 15% of all cancer deaths (other than tobacco-related cancers) in the U.S. are related to lifestyle factors: physical inactivity, excess body weight, alcohol use, and poor nutrition. It recommends 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week to reduce cancer risk. People in the study saw a significant immune response with 135 minutes of high-intensity exercise a week.
You know, I just love studies like this that demonstrate once again the power we have over our health and wellness. Clearly there are some cancers that are not impacted by lifestyle. But for those that are, we can reduce our risks by implementing healthier lifestyle habits.
The take home message: If you are not exercising, get up, out and move! If you are exercising, ensure you’re getting that high-intensity work a couple times a week.
Be sure to thank a Veteran this weekend in honor of Veterans Day.
Go out and make someone smile today! Keep looking up!
Forever Your Champion,