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The dreaded C word… cancer. Many of us know someone touched by cancer or perhaps you’ve received a diagnosis yourself. My own daughter did when she was just 3 years old. Did you know that regular exercise can have a significant and positive effect on the prevention and control of cancer?

Regular physical activity has been linked to a lower risk of 13 different types of cancer. Reductions in colon, breast, and endometrial cancers have all been documented, with the greatest risk reduction being for esophageal, liver, and kidney cancers, as well as myeloid leukemia.

Part of the impact of exercise is that approximately half a million cancer cases a year are attributed directly to obesity. With regular exercise helping to promote a healthy weight, no wonder it’s so effective at helping to prevent those diagnoses.

Exercise in all forms can help and it doesn’t have to be intense for you to receive the benefits. Regular, steady exercise can have huge benefits! Although, high-intensity interval training, or HIIT, appears to lower the amount of estrogen produced in fat cells, so is specifically useful for reducing the risk of estrogen-sensitive cancers.

It seems that the earlier you start exercising, the more lifelong benefits you receive. Studies show that those who engage in regular exercise early in life are 16% less likely to develop breast cancer as an adult than non-exercisers, and that rate goes up to 20% when regular exercise is continued into adulthood.

That’s all great news for prevention, but what if you’ve already received a diagnosis? Exercise can help here too! Exercising during treatment (with your doctor’s approval, of course!) can minimize the negative effects of conventional therapy – a more positive mental and emotional state, less fatigue, more energy, and, evidence suggests, fewer hospital stays.  A Harvard study suggests that exercising 3 to 5 hours a week – less than an hour a day! – lowered the odds of dying from cancer by almost 50% compared to sedentary patients. That’s huge!

And regular exercise after cancer treatment is over has been linked to an increased life expectancy by reducing the risk of cancer reoccurring. I’ve encouraged my daughter to be active over the years since her treatment and she’s now a fully active 15-year-old young woman who just celebrated 12 years in remission.

Whether you simply want to help ward off cancer, wish to help combat a current diagnosis, or prevent cancer from reoccurring, a regular exercise regimen is a great idea and what better way to provide a range of exercise options than to find a GlideFit class near you? Great exercise, lots of laughs, lots of fun… what’s not to love?!