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Exercise: The New Colonoscopy

Comprehensive Harvard Study Indicates Exercise Cuts Colon Cancer Risk by 25 Percent



February is heart month in more ways than one.  We give our “hearts” to our sweethearts every 14th, sure, but perhaps more significantly, American Heart Month comes every February.   It’s a month where health-conscious Americans go door to door getting the word out on how to make our heart beats grow stronger through diet, exercise and how to implement those things to avoid the world’s number one killer:  heart disease.

February has been American Heart Month ever since Congress designated it as such in 1963.  While I know Congress has a lot on their plates these days, I suggest this month – March – be designated American Colon Month henceforth.  Why?  Because a new study released from Washington University School in Missouri and Harvard University in Massachusetts suggests that those who “march” to the beat of their own drummer through exercise cut their risk of colon cancer by nearly 25 percent!

All right, all right, I know, it’s a terrible pun, but why not designate one month to colon health?  After all, with colon cancer the third most common form of cancer, and with an average of 100,000 new American cases of it popping up every year, it ought to be given considerably more attention than it is, don’t you think?

Perhaps I’ll take it up with Congress at some point.  In the meantime, all I can do is focus on how to avoid it.  And exercise is one way. 

We already know several things about colon cancer, like how it tends to run in families and that it’s one of the leading cancer diagnoses in America (some estimates suggest it’s the second most common form of cancer, not the third).  We also know that certain foods, like olives, contain compounds that protect the colon from cancerous lesions.
We now have some very conclusive evidence that indicates any form of exercise – be it marching in a drum line or marching toward a marathon’s finish line (all right, all right, I’ll lay off the “March” puns) cuts colon cancer risk by up to a fourth!

The study’s researchers, who published their findings in the British Journal of Cancer, gathered dozens of studies done on the links between exercise and colon cancer going back to 1984.  Using this data that contained information on people’s activity levels and if they were ever diagnosed with colon cancer, they found that the people who exercised the most were about 25 percent less likely to have colon cancer than those who exercised the least.  An example of some of the more active people across the span of studies – about 52 in all – were those who walked for at least five to six hours a week; the least active were those who exercised 30 minutes a week or not at all.

With all we know about the benefits of exercise, it amazes me that so few get the adequate amount needed for optimum health.  The Depart of Health and Human Services advises people spend at least two and a half hours doing moderate amounts of exercise (heck, I know people who spend that amount of time exercising every day!).  Yet 65 percent of people are getting less than that, according to the CDC.

With the economy in rough shape, let’s not make matters worse by letting ourselves get out of shape.  I’m hoping this resonates with people who have a history of colon cancer in their families.  Because you can run (or bike, or swim, or jog) away from that risk through a renewed dedication to making exercise a part of your everyday life.

  Science Daily
  American Heart Association

Related Posts

  1. Reduce Risk of Cancer Death with Exercise
  2. Benefits of Exercise and your Life Expectancy
  3. Exercise can dramatically reduce YOUR chances of heart disease, even if started later on in life…
  4. Mind Strong: A Resilient Mind Grounded in Exercise
  5. Study Shows Daily Exercise Can Prevent Colds

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Comment from Peter
Time March 8, 2009 at 3:18 am

I receive regurally your emails and have been eagerly looking forward to read something regarding leg veins. I have had these and they had given me a wound that made me suffer terribly with great pains, that’s healed but the black scar is still there. I have tried many treatment without much or any success. Lately, I have had accupressure and was promised that the discolouration and pains would go but the calf muscle is still tense and painful when pressed. I would like the same be cleared.
Thanks for your help.

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