Can Workouts Really Prevent Cancer?

Can workouts really prevent cancer? The answer, according to a new study, is a resounding yes!


When it comes to preventing cancer, researchers have long focused on lifestyle factors such as exercise, diet, and not smoking. Now, an increasing number of studies are demonstrating the potential of regular physical activity to reduce a person’s risk for certain types of cancer.

The World Health Organization recommends at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity for adults — this is the same amount recommended to maintain good health and lower the risk for diabetes and heart disease. For people interested in effectively reducing their risk for cancer, it is highly recommended that they follow these guidelines or increase their workout further with more vigorous training sessions.

The evidence for the preventive powers of physical activity is vast, but depending on the type of cancer studied, these results from some studies are consistent enough to say that any kind of physical activity — including walking or running — can help reduce a person’s risk for numerous cancers including liver and colorectal cancers. Exercise has been associated with beneficial effects on inflammation, hormones related to cancer development (like estrogen), body weight regulation and immunity levels. Thus far, evidence points in favor that regular exercise can significantly reduce a person’s vulnerable age-related chances of developing certain types of cancers.

Overview of Cancer

Cancer is a term used to describe abnormal cell growth and division. It is caused when cells in the body divide and spread out-of-control and can form tumors or damage organs and body tissue. While there is no known cause for cancer, certain lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of developing it. Exercise has been linked to a reduced risk of cancer, but there is still much debate around the topic. This article will provide an overview of cancer and explore the potential benefits of exercise in preventing it.

Types of Cancer

Cancer is a broad term for a group of diseases caused when cell growth in the body becomes uncontrolled and spreads to other parts of the organism. There are more than 100 different types of cancer, and there are various ways in which a person can get it. Generally, cancers are grouped together based on the types of cells they affect and how they usually behave.

Examples of cancer types include:
-Carcinomas: These cancers begin in cells that line the organs or other parts of the body, such as skin, breast tissue and lungs. Common carcinomas include colon cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer.
-Sarcomas: These are rarer forms of cancer that originate in specialized tissues like bones, muscles or cartilage. Examples of sarcomas include osteosarcoma (bone) and rhabdomyosarcoma (muscles).
-Leukemias: A type of blood cancer that originates in blood stem cells found in bone marrow. Leukemias can be categorized as either acute (fast growing) or chronic (slow growing).
-Lymphomas: A type of blood malignancy that originates from lymphocytes — white blood cells which form part of the immune system. Examples include Hodgkin lymphoma or non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

Risk Factors for Cancer

Risk factors for cancer can be broadly separated into two categories – those factors which are considered to be modifiable, meaning that individuals can take action to reduce their risk; and those which are not modifiable or cannot be changed. The former includes lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption, while the latter includes hereditary factors or the type of environment a person lives in.

Modifiable Risk Factors:
-Diet: Eating a healthy diet high in fruits and vegetables may help reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer, like colorectal cancer.
-Exercise: Regular physical activity has been linked to reduced risk for some types of cancers such as breast and colon cancers. Aim for at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise.
-Smoking/Alcohol: Smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol have both been linked with an increased risk for certain types of cancers such as lung, mouth, throat and liver cancers. Limiting the use of both is advised to reduce your risk.

Non-modifiable Risk Factors:
-Genetic Inheritance: Some people have a genetic predisposition that increases their chances for developing certain types of cancer, such as breast and ovarian cancers. Consuming a healthful diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables can help offset these inherited genetic risks.
-Environment: Exposure to carcinogenic substances in one’s environment also increases risks for developing certain types of cancer like lung cancer due to air pollution; or skin cancer due to UV radiation exposure from longterm sun exposure without sunscreen protection etc. Living in an industrial area with high levels of air pollution will increase your chances for pulmonary disorders including some forms of lung cancer so avoiding these environments is advised if possible.

Benefits of Exercise for Cancer Prevention

Exercise has been widely studied for its potential to reduce the risk of developing cancer, and the findings are incredibly promising. Studies have found that physical activity can help to reduce inflammation, improve immune function, and even slow down the process of aging. In this article, we will discuss the health benefits of exercise for cancer prevention.

How Exercise Reduces Cancer Risk

Research suggests that moderate physical activity is associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer. Regular, moderate physical exercise can help reduce the risks of many types of cancers, especially colon and breast cancers. Exercise increases your body’s production of endorphins, which boost mood and immune system health.

When you exercise, your body naturally produces hormones like endorphins and cortisol to reduce stress levels. The resulting reduction of stress hormones in the body has been shown to reduce the risk for certain types of cancer as well as improve overall wellbeing. Researchers believe that these hormone changes when coupled with regular physical activity could potentially lead to a reduced risk for different types of cancer by helping to decrease inflammation, improve immunity, and limit substances in cells that help promote tumor growth.

Furthermore, exercise is thought to help regulate hormones such as estrogen and insulin which can play a role in some types of cancer tumors. Additionally, regular moderate-intensity aerobic activities can help manage weight gain—increasing healthy body fat percentages—which contributes to a lowered likelihood of obesity-related cancers such as those affecting the breast or colon-rectum area.

Overall, an increase in physical activity can offer benefits above just general health maintenance; it may have an impact on long-term cancer prevention efforts as well through influencing hormonal balance and potentially reducing inflammation or other factors related to tumor growth or development..

Studies Showing Exercise Reduces Cancer Risk

Research has shown that physical activity can reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer. Studies have found reliable correlations between exercising and reduced cancer risk, and scientists believe that this is because exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight and metabolic rate.

Several studies have found that physical activity is associated with decreased cancer risk in humans. For example, a systematic review of 42 studies and 13 prospective cohort studies showed that regular physical activity was associated with lower risks for cancers of the breast, lung, stomach, esophagus and liver. A systematic review conducted in 2017 also concluded that higher levels of exercise are directly linked to lower risks for colorectal, breast and endometrial cancers.

In addition to the results from epidemiological studies showing an effect on cancer risk reduction, animal models provide further evidence in support of a role for exercise in reducing the chance of getting some types of cancers. Additionally, research into molecular pathways used by exercise has demonstrated relationships with inflammation mediated pathways perturbing carcinogenesis. In summary, there is abundant evidence from individual studies indicating a lower risk from cancers after sustained physical activities have been undertaken on a regular basis over time.

Other Ways to Reduce Cancer Risk

Exercising regularly is one way to reduce your risk of cancer, but it isn’t the only way. Research suggests that there are many lifestyle changes we can make to reduce our cancer risk, such as eating a healthier diet, avoiding tobacco use and limiting alcohol consumption. In this article, we’ll take a look at some additional steps you can take to reduce your risk of cancer.

Healthy Diet

One of the most important ways to reduce the risk of cancer is implementing a healthy diet. Eating a balanced diet which includes lots of leafy green vegetables, fruits, fish and lean proteins, while limiting processed and red meats and high sugar intakes can help in lowering the risk. Whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds are especially beneficial to include as they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Additionally, filling up on fiber can help reduce risks for breast and colorectal cancer. Limiting your consumption of saturated fats is also important for cancer prevention because it can lead to weight gain which in turn increases cancer risks.

Adherence to healthy lifestyle habits such as eating organic foods whenever possible may also help in reducing carcinogen intake commonly found in conventionally farmed products. Drinking at least 8 glasses of water each day also helps promote healthy cell functioning by eliminating toxins from the body and keeping cells hydrated. Additionally, you can further lower your risk for certain cancers by planning meals that contain limited salt content as diets high in sodium can increase risks associated with some cancers including those located in kidney and colon regions.

Reduce Stress

It’s not just physical exercise that can help reduce the risk of cancer. Research has shown that reducing stress levels and improving emotional wellbeing can have a direct impact. Stress has been associated with a variety of health problems, including cancer.

Managing stress is key to preventing this disease, as it can affect your physical and mental well-being. Exercising regularly helps to reduce stress and release endorphins which act as natural mood boosters, so it’s important that you find activities that help you stay in shape and physically fit while managing your emotional wellbeing.

This doesn’t have to be time consuming or expensive, even simple lifestyle changes can make all the difference when it comes to protecting your body from disease – here are just some of the ways:
-Deep breathing exercises
-Maintaining healthy relationships with family and friends
-Journaling or talking therapy
-Getting enough sleep on a regular basis

Avoid Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of cancer and has been linked to many types of cancer. The risk increases significantly with the number of cigarettes smoked and the amount of time that one smokes. It is recommended to never start smoking, or if already smoking, it is best to quit as soon as possible.

Similarly, alcohol consumption has also been associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends limiting your alcohol consumption to one drink a day for women or two drinks a day for men in order to reduce the risk of mouth and throat cancers. Moreover, alcoholic beverages should be completely avoided by those taking certain medications or undergoing specific treatments for cancer.


When it comes to a preventive strategy, the evidence supporting the role of physical activity in reducing cancer risk is strong and consistent. The evidence suggests that active lifestyles may prevent or reduce risk for certain cancers through reducing several underlying mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Regular participation in physical activity, even at moderate levels—such as at least 150 minutes weekly of moderate intensity or 75 minutes weekly of vigorous intensity—is associated with a reduction in overall cancer risk for many types of cancer and has been linked to improved cancer survival. In addition, studies have suggested that participating in physical activity during both pre- and post-diagnostic phases may increase survival. Therefore, incorporating an active lifestyle into everyday routine activities can serve as an important part of an effective prevention and treatment plan for maintaining good health and quality of life.

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