Health

Exercises and activities to cut down your cancer risk

01/6​Exercise can reduce cancer risk

Being overweight or obese is linked to 13 different types of cancer. On the other hand, up to one hour of moderate activity daily or 30 minutes of vigorous activity everyday can help to cut your cancer risk.

In fact, exercise is important to reduce the risk of many cancers, such as bowel cancer, in which exercise can help you pass through the waste more quickly, reducing contact with cancer-causing agents. High activity levels from exercise may also help in lowering the level of oestrogen in the body, thereby reducing breast cancer risk.

Exercising also prevents tumour growth in general, as if your body is physically active, it will produce less insulin and insulin-like factors that speed tumour growth.

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02/6​How much exercise should you do?

At least 1 hour of moderate activity daily or 30 minutes of vigorous activity everyday is recommended to reduce your cancer risk.

Moderate intensity exercises include workouts which cause a slight but noticeable increase in your breathing and heart rate. Vigorous exercise makes you huff and puff. It can be defined as exercise at 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate.

If you have any existing medical condition, it is best to consult your doctor for what kinds of exercises you can do, especially if you wish to do vigorous workouts.

03/6​Moderate and vigorous exercises you can try

Some examples of moderate exercises that can be easily done by anyone include:

  • Brisk walking
  • Medium-paced swimming
  • Slow cycling
  • Yoga

For vigorous workouts, you can choose from a range of exercises depending on your interests. These include:

  • Football
  • Squash
  • Netball
  • Basketball
  • Aerobics
  • Circuit training
  • Jogging

04/6​Basic exercise guidelines

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, here are some basic exercise guidelines that everyone should be aware of, whether you are a beginner or seasonal athlete:

  • Exercise at a moderate intensity 3 to 5 times a week.
  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before aerobic activity.
  • Maintain your exercise intensity for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Gradually decrease the intensity of your workout, then stretch to cool down during the last 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Aim for 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise each time you exercise.

05/6​Activities you can try

While there is no alternative for a dedicated exercise time, if you are taking a break due to some health issue or other factors, here are some everyday activities you can engage in, which will keep you active:

  • Vacuuming the house
  • Mowing the lawn with a push mower
  • Washing your car by hand
  • Gardening
  • Scrubbing your floors
  • Dancing while cleaning the house
  • Playing games with kids
  • Walking while on phone call

Here are some lifestyle tips and thoughts for mindset which can help you remain active throughout the day, and not just while exercising for a tiny chunk of the day. First, see exercise as an opportunity towards a healthier body, not an inconvenience. Try to walk as much as possible – answering doors, fetching things etc. An oldie but goodie – walk up stairs instead of taking the lift. If you need to communicate with people in your house or neighbours, prefer going to them instead of texting or calling.

Aim towards a goal of 10,000 steps everyday. If your work involves sitting for long hours, get up at least after every hour and walk for five minutes. Sitting for extended periods increases your cancer risk, even if you exercise regularly. Sitting too much also increases your risk for obesity, which can lead to cancer and other chronic diseases.

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