World cancer Day is observed on 4th February every year.
World Cancer Day is an ideal opportunity to highlight the important role that sport and exercise can play in the fight against the disease. As a complement to treatments, physical activity can slow the progression of the disease, improve quality of life and reduce the risk of relapse. Here’s a selection of suitable activities to try, preferably with a friend.
Sport is also an excellent remedy for lifting mood and regaining mental wellbeing. It promotes sleep, stimulates immunity and helps rebuild self-esteem.
After recovery, physical activity can improve survival rates by reducing the risk of metastasis and relapse. Three 20- to 30-minute sessions per week are recommended, as regularity is more important than intensity.
World Cancer Day: 5 Fitness Exercises
Here’s a pick of suitable sports and activities, overseen by specially trained instructors from associations or clubs.
1. Nordic walking
This low-impact stress-buster is a great alternative to power walking. It’s ideal for getting out in the fresh air and getting the blood pumping. Walking with sticks requires coordinated movement, getting all muscles moving while boosting energy expenditure.
Nordic walking is recommended as a preventative activity, as well as for cancer patients and survivors, particularly those affected by breast cancer. Nordic walking can be practiced at any age. Various groups, clubs and associations now offer the sport.
2. Elliptical training
The elliptical trainer, or cross-trainer, is a machine found in most gyms, offering beneficial stamina-building exercise that’s a whole body workout. It can be practised during chemotherapy to help reduce fatigue or as a preventative activity.
A study published in JAMA Oncology showed that 300 minutes of elliptical trainer reduced body fat and reduced the risk of breast cancer in postmenopausal women. This workout can be enjoyed alone or with a gym buddy.
3. Dragon boat
This paddle-powered dugout canoe is traditionally associated with Asia. The activity, which is akin to rowing, is particularly recommended for women who have previously suffered from breast cancer, as it promotes lymphatic drainage while using back muscles and working the arms.
This cooperation-based team sport also relies on the strength and energy of each individual. It’s a drug-free therapy that combines sport, fun and camaraderie outside in the fresh air!
4. Qi gong
This branch of traditional Chinese medicine is today recognised and used in certain hospitals, like the CHU de La Pitié-Salpêtrière in Paris, to ease the side effects of chemotherapy. Qi gong increases the uptake and absorption of oxygen from the blood. Its effect on certain enzymes has also been demonstrated. By improving the flow of internal energy throughout the body, qi gong improves well-being, reduces fatigue and fosters serenity.
This activity, practised in France, was developed by the co-founder of the French association CAMI Sport et Cancer. The technique teaches movements that are specially tailored, effective and intense, and which use all of the body’s muscle and bone chains.
Based on beneficial postures, Médiété improves balance while also toning, stretching and strengthening, and teaches breathing exercises. It features choreographed routines involving a series of movements. It’s touted as a good way of reconnecting with the body and clearing the head.
World Cancer Day: These carcinogens are making you sick
Cancer is one of the fastest growing lifestyle diseases in the world. The food we eat can affect our risk of developing cancer. According to the experts 1 out of 10 cancer cases can be prevented with the right diet. Hence, it is very important to make sure what we eat is right and healthy.
In India, about 2.5 million people currently suffer from some form of cancer and about 7 lakh new cases are added everyday to this already high burden. The likelihood of developing cancer is defined by a set of risk factors, which are a combination of environmental and genetic components. While genetic factors like your family history and age are beyond your control, you can take charge of the environmental factors and significantly reduce your risk.
The most important modifiable environmental risk factor for cancer is the consumption of a healthy diet.
The top 5 most-diagnosed cancers in men are lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach, and liver and the top most-diagnosed cancers in women are breast, colorectal, lung, cervix, and stomach. Majority of these disorders are centered on the gastrointestinal system. Our general everyday diet not only affects the risk of development and survival of cancer but also major non-communicable lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases.
Following are some dietary components that are carcinogenic or cancer causing if consumed in large quantities over a prolonged period of time:
Transfats are obtained post extensive chemical treatment of vegetable oils. They are known as a potent trigger for cancer, heart disease and autoimmune disorders. The unhealthy levels of omega-6 fatty acids found in hydrogenated oils like dalda make it highly carcinogenic owing to their unique ability to attack and damage cell membranes.
2. Soda and carbonated beverages
These beverages are inundated with a host of chemicals, high fructose corn syrup and unhealthy sugar levels and provide absolutely zero nutritional value. Moreover, their caloric content is extremely high which can lead to fatal spikes in insulin levels, a home ground for cancer cells, if consumed on a regular basis.
3. Refined sugar
It is being increasingly solidified in the medical community that refined sugar is one of the most potent dietary risk factor for cancer and several other non-communicable disorders. Refined sugar is chemically processed and can significantly alter blood glucose levels, which is correlated with an increased cancer risk. Artificial sweeteners like aspartame are equally harmful.
4. Canned products
Food cans are lined with bisphenol-A, phthalates and styrene that are recognized as potent endocrine disrupters, meaning, they can disrupt the hormonal balance in the body. A carefully regulated hormonal environment is crucial to ward off any malignant formation in the body and these chemicals interfere with this critical balance.
5. Charred or smoked food products
Charred meats and other food products are prepared through a grilling process that increases the concentration of compounds called heterocyclic aromatic amines, which are known to be potent carcinogens.
Spread awareness on this World Cancer Day!
Inputs: Hindustan Times