REGULAR physical activity is known to improve your overall physical health as well as your mental health.
In a new study, researchers say exercise can also reduce your risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
They say exercise strengthens a person’s muscles and increases blood flow to the brain, among other benefits.
It’s recommended adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. There is little doubt that exercise improves your overall health and well-being.
It improves heart and lung health. It lifts your mood and increases your stamina. Now, researchers say they are discovering that physical activity may reduce the risk of two high-profile diseases — cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
“If exercise could be bottled up and sold in pill form, it would be the most widely prescribed medicine in the world for the numerous physical and mental health benefits,” Todd Buckingham, PhD, an exercise physiologist at Mary Free Bed Sports Rehabilitation & Performance Lab in Wyoming, Michigan, told Healthline.
More than 46,000 cancer diagnoses could be avoided with 5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, according to a study published this week.
Physical activity is any movement that uses skeletal muscles and requires you to exert more energy than you would when resting.
The activities include running, walking, dancing, biking, swimming, participating in sports, and even doing household chores.
“A few mechanisms behind why physical activity aids in the reduction of cancer are the positive physiological changes in the body.
These include weight loss, making the heart stronger, causing the arteries to dilate more readily, allowing for improved blood flow through the body, and reducing the ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol while raising the ‘good’ HDL cholesterol,” said Buckingham. There isn’t an abundance of research to back up the notion that exercise reduces cancer rates.
Today, the link between the two is mostly observational, according to the National Cancer InstituteTrusted Source.
Among other things, participants in studies usually self-reported their physical activity and then researchers followed up for years to document cancer diagnoses.