Cancer of the colon, the last section of the intestine, is considered the third most common cancer that American men and women suffer from. After all the nutrients from food are digested in the small intestine, the colon or the large intestine absorbs water and prepares waste as stool for excretion. So, the kind of food you eat and the lifestyle you lead plays a major role in developing colon cancer; with a diet low in fiber and high in fat, a sedentary life and obesity acting as major contributors. Reduce your risk of colon cancer with exercises.
Watching your weight and regular exercises can lower your risk of developing colon cancer. Studies have shown a direct relationship in the decreased risk of the cancer (30 to 40%) with increased physical activity. Simply getting off the couch and engaging in about 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercises can really help.
Here are a few simple activities that can help you stay in shape and prevent colon cancer.
- Brisk walking for about 30 minutes
- Activities can be advanced to more intense ones for 3 to 4 hours in a week
- Taking the stairs
- Walking your dog
- Taking short walks in between working hours
- Engaging in active hobbies such as cycling, dancing, hiking and swimming
- Yoga and pilates
- Measuring your steps with the help of a pedometer
Studies have also found that regular exercises following colon cancer surgery upped the survival rates and freedom from the cancer by about 50%. How does this work? Any kind of exercise and physical activity affects the development of the cancer in many ways. The protective ability of physical activity can be attributed to its role in improving insulin regulation, hormone metabolism, energy balance, gut motility, immune system activity and free radical scavenger systems. It also influences the levels of prostaglandin and lowers exposure of the colon to potential carcinogens.
Scientists feel that about 12 to 14% of colon cancer cases can be blamed on a sedentary lifestyle without any vigorous physical activity. The association between weight, exercise and the risk of developing colon cancer is one of the strongest for any kind of cancer. With an active life and routine exercise regime in place, you can reduce your risk of developing colon cancer.
At Greater Houston Gastroenterology, we provide specialized services and treatments for a wide range of gastrointestinal conditions. Our dedicated clinical staff and physician assistants are available to assist in delivering high-quality treatment and expert care. As the largest GI group in the greater Houston area, we offer 17 locations for your convenience.