The big C. The mere mention of the word can strike fear in the hearts of many for a reason. While there are no guarantees in life, it makes sound health sense to do everything you can to help prevent cancer.
Science-Backed Evidence That Running Can Help Prevent Cancer
When it comes to this disease, the old cliché about an ounce of prevention holds. Now, ample scientific evidence exists to support cardiovascular exercises like running as an effective means of staving off the disorder.
Running is an ideal form of cardiovascular fitness for several reasons. The first is its affordability. Other than a quality pair of sneakers, you don’t need any special equipment, nor do you need to join a health club. You can invest in a treadmill if you like, but if you have the earth beneath your feet, you have a surface to perform your workout.
Running also passes the time test that many busy schedules demand. Experts recommend 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous movement each week. While relatively few Pilates classes will get your heart pumping enough to meet the latter requirement, running nails it.
7 Cancers That Running Helps Prevent
Did you know that people could prevent seven out of every 10 deaths by modifying their lifestyles and practicing preventive care? Exercise falls under that umbrella, and running has been shown to help reduce your risk of the following seven cancers.
1. Colorectal Cancer
Research shows that adults who increase their physical activity levels can reduce their risk of developing colon cancer by 30% to 40%, as compared to sedentary individuals. Running increases blood flow and circulation, which helps to create a more efficient gastrointestinal system. Many runners will testify to the moving effects that their sport has on bowel function. When your body eliminates waste more rapidly, it has less time to accumulate and cause cellular-level changes.
2. Prostate Cancer
Running helps prevent the inflammation that can spur prostate cancer, and it may decrease the side effects associated with treatment of the disease. Remedying the disorder often involves androgen deprivation therapy, which can stimulate muscle and bone loss. However, exercise helps to increase bone density and build tissue, both of which can stave off weakness and breakage.
3. Breast Cancer
Exercise can help prevent breast cancer in three critical ways — by lowering weight, boosting immune function and regulating estrogen levels. Postmenopausal women with higher estrogen levels have an increased risk of developing the disease. One factor influencing how much of this hormone a woman’s body produces is her weight. Leaner women tend to have lower levels than those who carry extra pounds. Finally, exercise boosts immune function, which may help your body destroy cancerous cells.
4. Endometrial Cancer
Just as going for a run can prevent breast cancer, similar mechanisms help to prevent the endometrial form of the disease. Even women who haven’t reached menopause can reap the benefits, and not only regarding weight management. Balancing out your hormonal levels through routine physical activity can help reduce the unpleasant symptoms associated with menstruation, too.
5. Ovarian Cancer
Running also helps reduce your chances of getting cancer of the organ that produces your eggs. The weight management aspect of movement can also help by reducing your diabetes risk. Women with diabetes run a 20% to 25% higher risk of getting ovarian cancer, but exercise can lower the chances of developing the Type 2 form of this endocrine condition.
6. Gastric Cancer
A recent meta-analysis indicated an overall 19% decrease in stomach cancer risk among those who were physically active. It helps to reduce the chronic inflammation that often spurs the development of the disease. Considering that this form of cancer accounts for the second-leading cause of death from it, you should lace up your sneakers today.
7. Liver Cancer
Here’s a stunning statistic — people who engage in two or more hours of vigorous activity weekly can cut their chances of developing liver cancer by 95%, compared to the physically inactive. Engaging in any activity at all decreases the risk by 45%. This finding isn’t to say you can go out and pound brewskis after going for a run, but it’s OK to tip one back after logging your mileage.
Getting Started with Your Running Program
When getting started with any fitness program, it’s a wise idea to consult your doctor first. If you have conditions such as arthritis or degenerative disk disease, you can still participate. However, you may wish to moderate your mileage.
You can also see a qualified personal trainer to work up a program, although you’ll find ample training schedules available online for free. The most crucial factor remains listening to your body. If you experience sharp pain or feel breathless, stop or slow down. You should be able to speak a short sentence while exerting yourself. If you can’t, you’re going too hard.
Want to Prevent Cancer? Go for a Run
If you want an inexpensive way to prevent cancer, lace up your running shoes. You’ll feel better and reap the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
article by Kate Harveston