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Chris Woolmams / Catherine Woollams
Exercise increases cancer survival

Exercise is a powerful anti-cancer drug 

Exercise is a powerful weapon in the fight against cancer. Taking 45 - 60 minutes light to moderate exercise 6 days a week is a crucial part of the CANCERactive cancer survival programme guidelines to increase your personal odds of beating cancer.

In the USA, the American Cancer Society conducted research on stage 3 cancer patients, all of whom had had chemo and surgery. Those who adhered most closely to the ACS guidelines on Diet and Exercise had 31% less cancer recurrence, and 42% less deaths in the seven years the study ran for. Their guidelines are almost exactly those of CANCERactive.
Here are just a few of the benefits of exercise that particularly relate to people with cancer.

1. Exercise produces anti-cancer hormones in your body called endorphins, so called ´happy hormones´. They have a drug like effect, even at very low levels: 
              i) They can actually unblock silenced genes, thus reversing the loss of crucial health messages;
              ii) They can greatly reduce stress hormone, cortisol, levels. Cortisol has been shown to cause severe inflammation in the body linking to two cancer-causing genes; plus it helps cancer spread.

2. Exercise oxygenates the body and pre-sensitises cancer cells - Cancer thrives in lowered oxygen conditions, so make sure your levels are good. And US research has shown that oxygen pre-sensitises cancer cells so chemotherapy and radiotherapy are more effective. More cancer cells are killed if you can exercise before and during orthodox treatment.

3. Exercise makes cancer tumours less aggressive - research from Kansas state shows that as well as pre-sensitising cancer cells so more are killed during treatment, exercise actually makes tumours less aggressive

4. Exercise reduces body fat levels.
               i) Cancer cells use fat to protect themselves. Some cancer cells use fat droplets to increase their ability to spread. Fat helps them hide from the immune system and makes them more aggressive; and high blood fat levels makes cancer more likely to spread. For example, men with high Triglyceride levels are more likely to see the return of their prostate cancer.
               ii) Extra body fat is linked with increasing levels of cancer-driving hormones like oestradiol and growth factors.
               iii) Body fat is a wonderful solvent. It will dissolve and hold all the toxic compounds and excess hormones you would rather have cleared from the body.
               iv) Exercise reduces visceral fat. This is the unseen fat that lies inside you and around your organs bathing them in toxins. The good news is that it starts to dissolve after about 12 minutes of exercise.

Go To: How much exercise reduces the risk of mortality in breast cancer, prostate cancer and colorectal cancer?

5. Exercise reduces blood glucose levels - People with the highest levels of blood glucose survive least. We have a whole article on the links between glucose and cancer. Exercise will control your blood sugar as well as any drug.

6. Exercise increases the strength of your heart
benefitting blood flow, nutrient delivery to tissues and toxin removal. It makes you more efficient.

7. Exercise improves your lymph flow. It reduces fat in the lymph (improving the quality of your immune system), and increases the movement of toxins away from your cells.

8. Exercise can strengthen your bones. Weight-bearing exercise is particularly relevant and beneficial to older people and people with cancers like multiple myeloma, or any cancer that might spread to the bones. Using weights helps increase bone density. In 2017, research from North Carolina School of Medicine showed that even aerobic exercise could strengthen bones by burning fat in the bone marrow and stimulating bone density.

The bottom line: As Professor Robert Thomas in his article for CANCERactive says, exercise increases the chances of cure, just as much as chemotherapy!

Keep moving - get puffed!

The concept of vigorous, sweaty exercise is fast being replaced by a view that people touched by cancer are better to do MODERATE exercise every day. For example, a brisk walk for 40 minutes to 1 hour, where at some point you get puffed.

This moderate exercise takes oxygen to all the internal organs, whereas extreme exercise - going for a 5 mile run every day, marathons etc., sees the body demand the oxygen for brain, heart and muscles and often starve the organs. Equally, strenuous exercise produces more dangerous free radicals.

Tai Chi and yoga have been shown in research to produce the hormones (endorphins) that reduce cortisol. Meditation after exercise has been shown to produce hormones called opiods which are extremely health corrective. 

Keep moving. All the latest research shows that while an hour of exercise every morning is good news, sitting down for the rest of the day is bad for you.

Most importantly, the overwhelming volume of research on the benefits of exercise has been developed for people with cancer. The American Cancer Society in its review on Complementary Therapies in 2012 stated clearly that exercise could increase survival and even prevent a cancer returning.

Exercise is a powerful and corrective drug - Hormones are powerful compounds, and exercise produces great levels.

In this section of our website you will find three articles:

      * So, ´Are you fit enough to beat cancer?´ - a simple article on exercise to get you started 
      * ´Why is exercise good for us´ - an article by Professor Robert Thomas 
      *  A review of all the complementary cancer therapies you might consider.

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