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Exercise

To keep your digestive system healthy and functioning well, you should commit to regular exercise. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles which results in an expenditure of energy. Exercise has many benefits such as:

  • Maintaining healthy bones, joints and muscles
  • Controlling body weight and preventing obesity
  • Reducing the risk of hypertension, stroke, heart disease and diabetes
  • Promoting psychological well-being
  • Reducing the risk of premature death

It’s Time To Make a Change

Even with all of these health benefits, more than half of all Americans do not exercise. Because of our aversion to exercise, 35.7 percent of American adults are obese, according to the Center for Disease Control. The solution to this statistic is a commitment to make physical activity a part of our everyday lives. Regular exercise is important for people of all ages, but it is especially essential for colon health and preventing gastrointestinal disease.

One of the risk factors for colon cancer is a sedentary lifestyle, so you are actively preventing colon cancer when you get your body moving. Over 50 studies have been conducted on the connection between exercise and the risk of colon cancer. Research shows that adults who increase their physical activity in intensity, duration or frequency can reduce their risk of developing colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent, compared to adults who are sedentary.

How Does Exercise Prevent Colon Cancer?

Exercising can influence the development of colon cancer in several different ways by:

  • Creating a more efficient gastrointestinal system by increasing blood flow and circulation
  • Reducing insulin levels, which are responsible for tumor cell division and growth
  • Playing a role in energy balance and hormone metabolism
  • Reducing the time that the colon is exposed to carcinogens
  • Altering inflammatory and immune factors that influence colon cancer risk

How Much Exercise is Enough?

The recommended amount of exercise to protect against colon cancer is estimated to be between 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day. The type, duration and level of intensity of exercise will vary from person to person, so you should discuss your exercise goals with your doctor before beginning any new regime. Currently, there are no conclusive studies to show whether physical activity can help prevent rectal cancer, adenomas or polyps, but there is a clear association between exercise and colon cancer.

Benefits of Exercise for Colon Cancer Survivors

If you have colon cancer, exercise is even more important. Research shows that colon cancer survivors can reduce the risk of their cancer recurring by as much as 50 percent by exercising. Physical activity can also increase survival and definitely enhance quality of life by reducing fatigue and promoting energy balance.

Make Exercise a Regular Part of Your Day

If you have already implemented an exercise regime into your daily schedule, keep up the good work! Consistency is essential for the best protection against colon cancer. If you have never made exercise a part of your life, you should visit your doctor to begin a program that is appropriate for your age and activity level.

Maybe you exercise regularly but want to modify your current exercise program to include some different activities. Rather than the typical exercises like running, walking, swimming and biking, vary your workouts by trying one of these exercises:

  • Water aerobics
  • Yoga
  • Jumping rope
  • Martial arts
  • Dancing- ballroom dancing, line dancing, folk dancing, square dancing
  • Tennis
  • Basketball league through a fitness facility or recreation center
  • Canoeing
  • Hiking
  • Skiing
  • Running a 5K, 10K or a half marathon
  • Fitness DVD
  • Circuit weight training