For this proposition, I believe most people agree. But why can exercise prevent cancer? What kind of exercise has better anti-cancer effects? Since exercise can prevent cancer, is it true that the greater the amount of exercise, the better the cancer prevention effect? The answers to these questions are not clear to everyone. To this end, our reporter specifically consulted Professor Zheng Ying, Director of the Cancer Prevention Department of Fudan University Affiliated Tumor Hospital.
Exercise to prevent cancer with evidence
Professor Zheng Ying said that there is a basis for sports to prevent cancer. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the United States once published a paper using big data to prove the significant anti-cancer effect of sports. Researchers conducted an 18-year survey on the daily exercise volume of 1.44 million people in European and American countries. They compared the 10% of the largest and smallest groups of exercise, and found that the incidence of at least 13 cancers in the population who exercised for a long time was significantly reduced. Among them, esophageal adenocarcinoma has the highest reduced risk at 42%, followed by liver cancer (27%) and lung cancer (26%). Lung cancer, gastric cancer, esophageal adenocarcinoma, liver cancer, and bowel cancer with the highest incidence in my country are all listed among the 13 cancers whose incidence decreases with exercise. Women who exercise for a long time have also reduced the incidence of breast cancer by 10%.
Coincidentally, in May 2018, the National Cancer Institute and the World Cancer Research Foundation launched a comprehensive report on lifestyle and cancer prevention so far “Diet, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer: a G loba l Perspective” , Sports and cancer: a global perspective). The report is based on the results of hundreds of studies, data of 51 million people, including 3.5 million cancer cases, and 10 cancer prevention recommendations. Among these 10 recommendations, 8 of them are related to nutrition, and only 2 of them are exercise. However, these two items related to exercise are ranked first and second respectively.
What’s the reason for sports anti-cancer
Why can exercise prevent cancer? Professor Zheng Ying then analyzed.
First of all, during exercise, the muscles of the whole body generate heat, which can kill cancer cells to a certain extent. The body’s breathing and sweating reactions during exercise also help the body’s metabolism and excrete harmful substances and carcinogens in the body. The effect of exercise on enhancing human immunity is also recognized. In addition, exercise can promote the body to secrete dopamine, this neurotransmitter can make people feel happy, can effectively improve mood fluctuations, and help people eliminate some negative emotions. Everyone knows that long-term negative emotions and depression are the triggers of certain cancers.
Secondly, exercise can prevent and improve obesity, and obesity is an independent risk factor for cancer. Especially for women, obesity has a greater adverse effect. We all know that exercise has a certain improvement effect on women with obesity and menstrual abnormalities. Research data shows that breast cancer patients with BMI ≥ 25 have a lower mortality rate than those who do not exercise. In addition, exercise can enhance physical fitness and muscle tension, thereby reducing wrestling, improving balance, and increasing bone density.
Obesity can also cause chronic inflammation in the body. Inflammation is regarded as one of the triggers of cancer. It has been found that some inflamed cells and chemicals can induce mutations in cancer genes and induce active cancer cells. Cancers known to be associated with inflammation include colon cancer, lung cancer, gastric cancer, esophageal cancer, breast cancer, and the like.
Again, this study found that exercise has a particularly obvious effect on the prevention of gastrointestinal cancer. In other words, people who often jog, the incidence of intestinal tumors is much lower than that of people who do not like exercise. Most of the time, there will be more or less feces in the large intestine, and proper exercise helps the body to defecate. The longer the stool stays in the large intestine, the more opportunities and time for some carcinogens contained in it to contact the intestinal wall, and the greater the possibility of bowel cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers.
Professor Zheng specifically pointed out that the effects of exercise to prevent cancer include but are not limited to interventions for obesity, so even for people who are not obese, exercise can significantly reduce the risk of a variety of cancers.
What kind of exercise has a good anti-cancer effect
Is there any kind of exercise that is particularly effective in preventing cancer? Is the greater the amount of exercise and the longer the exercise time, the better the cancer prevention effect? Is there an optimal value for exercise?
Professor Zheng Ying suggested that at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day, at least 5 times a week; on this basis, if you do 2 more strength exercises, you can get good exercise benefits.
As for exercise methods, young adults prefer running, playing badminton, table tennis and other aerobic exercises. Regarding the amount of exercise, just feel your heartbeat and shortness of breath. The elderly, those with poor physical fitness, or those with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases can choose exercises such as brisk walking, Tai Chi, and dancing with lower intensity.
Some people will say: “I don’t like these and can’t hold on, what should I do?” If you like dancing, you can dance; if you like basketball, you can play basketball; if you like yoga, you can do yoga. In short, the exercise that suits you is the best, and the purpose is to make yourself able to persevere without relying on willpower to work hard.
Even the smallest activities, such as watching TV while lifting a beverage can, are good for our bodies. But Professor Zheng Ying also pointed out that the exercises we talk about, such as walking, running, swimming, fitness, etc., are our daily physical exercises. However, “sports” related to the nature of work in daily life, such as labor for heavy manual workers, sports for professional athletes, etc., are not included.
Why do people who insist on exercising have cancer
Some people may have questions: Since exercise can prevent cancer, why do many people who insist on exercise suffer from tumors?
Professor Zheng said that the occurrence of cancer is a complicated process and is not caused by a single factor. Exercise and cancer are not causal. If you don’t exercise, you will definitely get cancer, and you won’t get cancer if you exercise. Both of these judgments are wrong. Exercise can only reduce certain factors that induce cancer, but the factors that cause cancer may be other factors that are not affected by exercise.
In any case, exercise has a positive effect on the health of the human body, and has a positive effect on the prevention and even treatment of cancer. Moreover, sports, regardless of race, age, or gender, is a low-threshold method for cancer prevention. So, don’t make any excuses, just get started!