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Can Exercise Reduce The Risk Of Cancer?

By Dr. Nikita Toshi +2 more

Cancer is a disease which not only makes a person suffer physically but also mentally. It affects the lives of both the patients and those closely associated with the patient. While there are several treatment options available with the onset of modern medicine, taking some precautionary measures and adopting certain healthy habits may help reduce the risk of developing some cancers. An overall active and healthy life may be less prone to developing the deadly disease, cancer.


Understanding cancer and how it happens

When abnormal cells of the body begin to divide at a very fast rate, they end up damaging or sometimes even destroying the normal functional tissues of our body. This causes Cancer. Sometimes these abnormal cells which multiply at an exponential rate, form lumps known as tumours. However, tumours are not always malignant(cancerous) and can be benign (non-cancerous) as well. Cancer can affect any part of the body and can eventually spread to the other parts if not treated on time.

The DNA in our bodies is determined at the time of our birth but may undergo mutations at any time. These mutations often result in mistakes (abnormal cells) which are usually identified and corrected by our bodies. Sometimes some abnormal cells go unnoticed by our bodies. Cancer is a condition in which these abnormal cells undergo uncontrolled multiplication and spread to different parts of the body.

The external factors which are known to cause cancer are called carcinogens. So what exactly causes cancer? It is not always possible to understand the cause of cancer but here are some common factors that are known to increase the risk of cancer-

  • Genetic factors- having a family history of cancer. This is a non-modifiable risk factor. 
  • Excessive exposure to Sun-The harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun can penetrate deep into the skin and are known to cause skin cancer.
  • Alcohol addiction can be a potential cause of cancer.
  • Tobacco consumption and smoking cigarettes or inhaling second-hand smoke regularly.
  • Intake of lots of processed food and beverages including meat. 
  • Excessive consumption of fast food and added sugar.
  • Having a history of a chronic disease such as Hepatitis B or HIV.
  • Being exposed to radiation and other toxins.
  • Exposure to air pollution, contaminated water or asbestos dust.
  • Some viruses eg: Human Papilloma Virus.
  • Obesity and sedentary lifestyle.

By eliminating the modifiable risk factors mentioned above, one can attempt to reduce the risk of acquiring cancer.

Also Read: Does Air Fryer Cause Cancer? Unveiling the Facts Behind the Question

What are some exercises that may help reduce the risk of cancer?

Below is a list of exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

  • Common everyday activities– Everyday activities like cleaning your house with a broom or taking your bicycle to the local market instead of your car and choosing to take the stairs instead of availing of the lift facility are some ways you can keep yourself active without investing any additional effort.
  • Brisk walking– Brisk walking has several benefits including keeping the heart healthy and keeping your joints flexible. It is also a great way of taking a break from your work and clearing your mind.
  • Aerobic Exercises– Aerobic exercises like swimming, cycling or dancing keep you fit and active while also keeping you entertained. It is a great way of honing things you are passionate about while working out daily. Aerobic exercises are a good way of keeping your body weight under control.
  • Skipping rope– Skipping rope is a great way of getting your daily dose of exercise within a short period. So, if you have time constraints you no longer have an excuse to skip working out. 
  • Strength training– Strength training can be done through weight lifting or by using resistance bands. It is simple and does not require expensive equipment. You can start by lifting filled one-litre water bottles with each hand and work your way up. Once you are confident enough and have a consistent routine, you may invest in weights which are advised by professional fitness instructors.

Cancer is a disease which puts a toll on both the physical and mental health of a person. The risks of developing cancer may be lowered by living a healthy and active life. Some exercises such as common everyday activities like cleaning your home with a manual broom, cycling, swimming, weight lifting, etc. may reduce the risk of cancer by helping you maintain a healthy weight and overcome problems like obesity and inactivity which are the risk factors for cancer.

Also Read: Does Skipping Reduce Weight? Examining the Facts and Myths

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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