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Exercise: Another Weapon in the Fight Against Cancer

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We all know that exercise keeps us fit, and prevents heart disease, but it turns out to also be a cancer fighter.

image of man exercising

Regular exercise, for which our body has been designed, and which our modern lifestyle sees far too little of, has a number of benefits beyond toning up the muscles. 

It can help prevent heart disease, burn off some cholesterol from our blood stream, release endorphines to reduce pains, and improve our mood. 

Researchers  at the University of Alberta, headed by Dr. Vickie Baracos, have shown a new value to the humble exertions.  Rats were placed on varying levels of exercise regimens, such as swimming, and then injected with cancer cells.  While all developed tumors, the sedentary ones had far more significant disease.  Those that exercised even modestly had tumor sizes fifteen to forty five percent smaller in the same time frame. 

Exercise dramatically slowed cancer growth regardless of the rats sex, when the tumor was introduced, or the amount of exercise over the moderate level.  The results are extremely promising, especially as exercise has no adverse side-effects and does not need to wait for government approval.



The tendency most of us show towards those being treated for cancer is to coddle them, to save them steps where possible.  Now it seems the exact opposite should obtain.  The exercise need not be herculean, but should be tailored to suit the physical limitations imposed by the disease itself.  Even patients who are admitted for chemotherapy, who may well prefer to stay in bed due to side effects, should be encouraged to get up for at least brief forays around the room, or down the hall. 

If you have cancer, make sure you augment your medical treatments with everything you can, including good humor, and a positive attitude. It also means summoning the resolve to do at least some form of exercise each day.  Come to think of it, there's no need to have cancer to benefit from the same advice. 

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