In honor of this year’s National Fitness Day, we’re focusing on the important relationship between fitness and cancer. It doesn’t take an expert to know that fitness is an important aspect to anyone’s health, however it can be exponentially more integral to a person on a cancer journey. Fitness can help from prevention through treatment and survivorship.
According to The National Cancer Institute, “There is strong evidence that higher levels of physical activity are linked to lower risk of several types of cancer.”1 Fitness can lower your risk of cancers like, Bladder, Breast, Colon, Endometrial, Esophageal, Kidney and Stomach. For more information the Physical Activity and Cancer Fact Sheet is a great source on how activities effect the individual cancers listed above.
Going through cancer treatment can wreak havoc on your body and mind. While fitness is definitely not a cure-all, it can help alleviate many symptoms. There is “strong evidence that moderate-intensity aerobic training and/or resistance exercise during and after cancer treatment can reduce anxiety, depressive symptoms, and fatigue and improve health-related quality of life and physical function”1 Another great tip to help relieve symptoms like anxiety without having to exert too much at times it feels like you can barely move is going for a walk outside, “My tip for staying healthy… get outside for at least 15 minutes every single day. It’s good for the body, mind, and soul” (Blakey, 2020).
As your journey moves into survivorship, the importance of physical activity does not lessen. Fitness can help you get back to feeling like yourself again after treatment. “Before cancer I was quite fit. I would do exercise in preparation for various events such as cross-country skiing or climbing a mountain. But after cancer, I became determined to exercise for life…” (Mary, 2017).
One person who is embracing fitness and doing so for a great cause is Lindsay Tasher, Cancer Hope Network Board Member who is raising money for CHN with a virtual 5K in honor of Elizabeth Ann Mitchell McCarthy. CLICK HERE to learn more or to register for the event.
- Physical Activity and Cancer Fact Sheet. (2020, February 10). National Cancer Institute. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet