How to push cancer aside

To lower your risk of two of the most common types of cancer, there are two things you have to break.

You have to break your habit of sitting around too much and you have to break a sweat.

A study of middle-aged men shows that a consistent exercise program and possessing a respectable fitness level drops your risk of falling victim to lung and colorectal cancer. Being fit also lowers your chances of dying of cancer if you develop a tumor when you’re older.

The 38-year study looked at the fitness levels and cancer history of about 14,000 men.

The researchers found that being fit in middle-age drops the risk of lung cancer in men by an impressive 55 percent and the risk of colorectal cancer by 44 percent.

The physically fit men involved in the research also enjoyed a 32 percent reduced risk of dying from cancer if they developed any cancer after age 65. Their chances of dying from heart disease in later life was 68 percent lower.

This study supports research at Duke that shows that exercise helps fight cancer by exposing tumors to increased blood flow and more oxygen. Lab tests there show that exercise slows cancer growth and can cause tumor cells to die.

“We were truly amazed by these findings,” says Duke researcher Mark W. Dewhirst. “I have spent the better part of the last 30 years trying to figure out how to eliminate hypoxia (lack of oxygen) in tumors, and have looked at a lot of different approaches — drugs, hyperthermia and metabolic manipulations. None has worked very well, and in some cases, made things worse. So these findings with exercise are quite encouraging.”

While I find exercise’s anti-cancer benefits to be impressive, what I find really amazing is that more people don’t take advantage of these benefits. Especially since exercising doesn’t have to take forever, or be as strenuous as you might think.

The American College of Sports Medicine did a study that shows doing just seven minutes of exercise, using at most a chair and your body weight, is better for you that doing 150 minutes a week of endurance training. The journal article even includes illustrations of how to do the exercises.

Carl Lowe

By Carl Lowe

has written about health, fitness and nutrition for a wide range of publications including Prevention Magazine, Self Magazine and Time-Life Books. The author of more than a dozen books, he has been gluten-free since 2007.