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Exercise: A Secret Weapon Against Disease?

One of the primary reasons exercise works to lower your cancer risk is because it drives your insulin levels down, and controlling insulin levels is one of the most powerful ways to reduce your cancer risks. It’s also been suggested that apoptosis (programmed cell death) is triggered by exercise, causing cancer cells to die.

Exercise also helps lower your estrogen levels, which explains why exercise appears to be particularly potent against breast cancer. And if you’re male, be aware that athletes have lower levels of circulating testosterone than non-athletes, and similar to the association between estrogen levels and breast cancer in women, testosterone is known to influence the development of prostate cancer in men.

Then of course, exercise also improves the circulation of immune cells in your blood, whose job it is to neutralize pathogens throughout your body. The better these cells circulate, the more efficient your immune system is at locating and defending against viruses and diseases, including cancer, trying to attack your body.

Exercise Tips for Cancer Patients

I would strongly recommend you read up on my Peak Fitness program, which includes high-intensity exercises that can reduce your exercise time while actually improving your benefits.

Now, if you have cancer or any other chronic disease, you will of course need to tailor your exercise routine to your individual scenario, taking into account your stamina and current health. Often, you will be able to take part in a regular exercise program — one that involves a variety of exercises like strength training, core-building, stretching, aerobic and anaerobic — with very little changes necessary. However, at times you may find you need to exercise at a lower intensity, or for shorter durations.

Always listen to your body and if you feel you need a break, take time to rest. But even exercising for just a few minutes a day is better than not exercising at all, and you’ll likely find that your stamina increases and you’re able to complete more challenging workouts with each passing day.

In the event you are suffering from a very weakened immune system, you may want to exercise in your home instead of visiting a public gym. But remember that exercise will ultimately help to boost your immune system, so it’s very important to continue with your program, even if you suffer from chronic illness or cancer.

For even more cancer-prevention guidelines, please see my previous article, “The Root Cause of Cancer Almost Universally Ignored by Doctors.”

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Dr. Mercola

Dr. Mercola has been passionate about health and technology for most of his life. As a doctor of osteopathic medicine, he treated many thousands of patients for over 20 years. In the mid 90’s he integrated his passion for natural health with modern technology via the internet and developed a website, Mercola.com to spread the word about natural ways to achieve optimal health.

24 comments

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4:41PM PDT on May 22, 2012

obvious really. i LOVE to exercise!

11:45AM PST on Jan 31, 2012

Most of this is kind of obvious, or?

1:04AM PST on Jan 30, 2012

We don't turn our TV on until later in the evening. I try to eat and get my exercise in before we turn the TV on.

11:34AM PST on Jan 19, 2012

I love exercise but don't always fit it in but hardly ever sit in front of the TV, always working while watching. This article is good and highlights the latest research on exercise and should make a few people get off the couch and realize all the benefits of moving. Seems like we did discover the fountain of youth (in exercise). Thanks, Dr. Mercola.

6:31AM PST on Jan 19, 2012

i do most of my ab works, weight lifting, jogging in place, jumping jacks while watching TV. if i dont have tv i have to have music otherwise i'm not motivated to do those work outs. but i will always be motivated to walk. Its just to quiet and dull without some kind of sound in the back ground, besides i dont watch TV often only when a good show is on which is hardly ever. tuesdays for Taboo. so i work out and watch tv. and i'm not getting more of one over the other

10:50PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

I forwarded this on to a couple of 'known' couch potatoes in the family!
Thanks.

9:42PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

We forget that for hundreds of thousands of years, humans stayed healthy by working, mostly outside. They were constantly in motion. Our lifestyles are damaging...sitting, lying down, etc. Of course, its only part of it. Diet, avoiding toxins, etc. Life today is a jungle.

8:14PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

I find the distraction of a TV on while exercising is counter productive. I must admit to finding TV abhorrent, so that's not a fair assessment, but when I'm in the exercise room and drivel is coming over the airwaves, it's hard to focus on what is going on with the body, and to me, that's important. Attention is key to intention!

4:49PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

Well DUH! Move or hang/sit/lie around motionless... lets think very hard what is better for our bodies...

2:07PM PST on Jan 18, 2012

Thanks.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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