06.05.2016 Lifestyle Insurance
Most adults in Ireland are risking their health by failing to get enough exercise. Two thirds of us are not meeting the national physical activity recommendations. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that regular exercise can reduce the development of many chronic conditions including cancer. A study published as part of a Lancet special series on physical activity and global health estimated that 5.3 million of the 57 million deaths worldwide in 2008 were down to physical inactivity. Scientists have shown even low levels of physical activity can reduce the risk of some cancers. So now that summer is on the way, we look at how exercise can help prevent different types of cancer and suggest easy ways to build more activity into your life.
Research and analysis of 31 studies showed that women who did the most activity had a 12% lower risk of developing breast cancer compared with less active women and 30% reduced risk of the most common type of the disease (womb cancer). Housework, including heavier chores such as ironing, gardening and cleaning, formed the biggest part of women's activity in the studies as well as walking, cycling or playing sport. The analysis also showed that the more activity a woman does, the more she can reduce her risk of breast cancer.
Being physically active can change the levels of some hormones, including oestrogen and insulin in the blood. Physical activity can lower the level of oestrogen which is thought to fuel the development of many breast and womb cancers, so reducing the levels of this hormone could help to reduce the risk. Insulin is very important in controlling how our bodies use and store energy from food so scientists think insulin can turn on signals that tell cells to multiply. Because cancer starts when cells multiply out of control, lowering insulin levels could help stop some types of cancer developing. Lower oestrogen levels among physically active women with breast cancer could potentially improve survival, although not much data exists to support this at the moment.
There are two main ways that physical activity lowers the risk of developing colon cancer.
Dr. Stacey Kenfield, a Prostate Cancer Foundation Young Investigator first-authored a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2011 that looked at physical activity and outcomes for men diagnosed with prostate cancer. That study found that:
In Ireland, we're spending more and more time sitting down. Many of us spend most of our day sitting down going from our desk at work to the couch at home, often driving or taking public transport in between. Get up and move around to break up periods of sitting time:
Walking more is a great way to increase your level of physical activity. It's easy to fit into your daily routine. You don't need any special clothing or equipment and it's free. You don't have to walk for a long time - every little bit adds up:
Activity doesn't just mean sport and exercise. Anything that makes you a bit warmer and slightly out of breath counts as moderate activity, including:
No research will ever suggest that a sedentary life is healthy but then on the other hand, it is impossible to say that there is any one cause of cancer. Since it can affect anybody at any time, financial provision is a great idea.
The article was written by the MedOnline Medical Team. MedOnline is an interactive web/mobile clinic. The views expressed in this article are those of MedOnline and do not necessarily reflect the views of AIG Europe Limited.