Exercise & Cancer: Is Exercise The New Best Medicine?
Last year Professor Robert Thomas (oncologist from Cambridge University Hospital NHS foundation trust) stated in the news article “Exercise best help for cancer patients” that “ We know that 3 hours exercise per week after most cancers will reduce the chance of relapse by up to 30%.”
New developments this year have established an even greater benefit. In a recent episode of the ABC’s program “Catalyst” Professor Robert Newton highlighted these exciting developments in research into exercise and cancer;
“We now have a growing number of research studies showing that if people hit a certain level of physical activity- which is relatively modest, to be honest- then they’ll more than double their chances of surviving their cancer.”
In February of this year a Danish team published a research study in an Issue of Cell Metabolism which not only found a definite relationship between physical activity and a reduction in 5 different types of cancer they also identified how exercise targets cancer on a cellular level. In their study mice participating in regular wheel running showed over 60% reduction in incidence and size of 5 different types of tumours when compared to an inactive group. Further investigation found much higher quantities of natural killer cells in the tumours of the running mice. It was shown that adrenaline resulting from physical activity primes and mobilises NK cells and IL6 (interleukin 6) was significant in NK cells more accurately targeting tumours.
In June of this year a study of “Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk of 26 Types of Cancer in 1.44 Million Adults” found high levels of physical activity were linked to lower risk of 13 cancers; oesophageal, lung, liver, kidney, gastric cardia, endometrial, myeloid leukaemia, myeloma, colon, head and neck, rectal, bladder and breast. It is important to note; however, no exact parameters for physical activity were outlined.
These findings are just the beginning of the many benefits of exercise.
The Cancer Council Australia outlines many general benefits for your physical and mental wellbeing. Exercise can:
- strengthen muscles and bones and improve circulation
- help you maintain or achieve a healthy weight
- improve your energy levels
- improve your mobility and balance
- improve appearance and self-esteem
- help you cope with stress, anxiety and depression
- provide new opportunities to meet people and socialise
- reduce the risk of, or help manage, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes,osteoporosis and some cancersWhy Clinical Pilates?
It is becoming increasingly clear that exercise is a highly effective way of preventing, minimising and reducing the risk of recurrence of many cancers in addition to many other benefits. This leads us to ask; “what is the best way to exercise?.” Currently more research is required to determine optimal exercise modalities and parameters; however, there is a clear message… get active and enjoy many health benefits!
A clinical pilates program is based on individual assessment to ensure it is appropriate for clients’ current fitness levels and health status as well as targeting specific goals determined together by the practitioner and client. These programs may include a focus on improving cardiovascular endurance, strength and conditioning and/ or posture and biomechanics to name a few. A pilates program is a great to get active in a safe, supervised environment and combines effectively with other types of physical activity for optimal wellbeing.What to do if you want to get started…
* Seek advice from your treating physician before getting things underway
* Start any new exercise programs under the supervision of a health professional