Apr 10, 2015
Exercise can help slash your risk of cancer; help cancer patients recuperate faster; and diminish your risk of cancer recurrence. It also helps diminish your risk of dementia
Being fit in middle age cut men’s risk of lung cancer by 55 percent, and bowel cancer by 44 percent. It also reduced their risk of dying from lung, bowel, and prostate cancer by nearly one-third
In seniors who are at high risk of dementia, cognitive decline can be reduced with a comprehensive program addressing diet, exercise, brain training, and managing metabolic and vascular risk factors
Research published in the journal JAMA Oncology found that being fit in middle age cut men’s risk of being diagnosed with lung cancer by 55 percent, and bowel cancer by 44 percent.
High levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in middle age also helped men survive cancer, reducing their risk of dying from lung, bowel, and prostate cancer by nearly one-third (32 percent). Not surprisingly, it also reduced their risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 68 percent.
Earlier research has also found that exercise—in this case weight training—cut men’s risk of dying from cancer by 40 percent. Similar findings have been reported in other studies.
According to a 2003 paper published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, "more than a hundred epidemiologic studies on the role of physical activity and cancer prevention have been published." The authors noted that:
"The data are clear in showing that physically active men and women have about a 30-40 percent reduction in the risk of developing colon cancer, compared with inactive persons.
With regard to breast cancer, there is reasonably clear evidence that physically active women have about a 20-30 percent reduction in risk, compared with inactive women.
It also appears that 30-60 min·d-1 of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity is needed to decrease the risk of breast cancer, and that there is likely a dose-response relation."
Another recent study reported in the New York Times found that aerobic exercise slowed the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice. By increasing tissue oxygenation, it also improved the effectiveness of chemotherapy. As noted in the article:
“The results raise the possibility that exercise may change the biology of some malignant tumors, potentially making them easier to treat.”
According to a recent randomized controlled trial, in seniors who are at high risk of dementia, cognitive decline can be reduced with a comprehensive program addressing diet, exercise, brain training, and managing metabolic and vascular risk factors. A total of 1,260 adults in Finland, aged 60-77 years, participated in the Finnish Geriatric Intervention Study to Prevent Cognitive Impairment and Disability. Half were randomly assigned to the intervention group, while the other half served as controls.
All participants were at high risk of dementia. The intervention consisted of attending regular meetings over the two-year trial period with various health professionals to address diet, exercise, brain training exercises, and metabolic risk factors. At the end of two years, the intervention group scored 25 percent higher overall on the Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB)—a standard test to evaluate mental functioning—than the control group. They scored even higher on certain parts of the test.
According to John J. Ratey, a psychiatrist who wrote the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, there’s overwhelming evidence that exercise produces large cognitive gains and helps fight dementia.