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Exercise and Cancer Prevention

Exercise to Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Changing your diet to decrease your risk of developing cancer is a good idea but starting an exercise program might also be helpful. Exercise is an important part of any weight loss program. Some studies on obese subjects are showing that being overweight may place you at risk of developing cancers of the prostate, cervix, kidney, breast, endometrium, liver, rectum, ovary, esophagus, colon, prostate and gallbladder.

Whether you are a beginner to exercise or a seasoned athlete, you need to be aware of basic exercise guidelines. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends the following:

  • Exercise at a moderate intensity 3 to 5 times a week.
  • Warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before aerobic activity.
  • Maintain your exercise intensity for 30 to 45 minutes.
  • Gradually decrease the intensity of your workout, then stretch to cool down during the last 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Aim for 20 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise each time you exercise.

To benefit from exercise, it is important to maintain a level of intensity. A method of monitoring physical activity intensity is to determine if your heart rate or pulse is within the target heart rate zone during physical activity. For moderate-intensity physical activity, your target heart rate zone should be 50-75% of your maximum heart rate. The target heart rate zone is a guideline. Always consult your physician if you have questions about your heart rate or starting an exercise program. Count your pulse (heartbeats) for a full 60 seconds, or 30 seconds and multiply by 2 or 10 seconds and multiply by the number 6.

If possible, try to add strength training or lifting weights a couple of times a week. This improves strength and muscle tone along with raising your metabolism, allowing you to burn more calories at rest.

Besides trying to find time for structured exercise, you should also attempt to incorporate more activity into your daily routine. Examples of everyday activities that also burn calories include:

  • Vacuuming
  • Mowing the lawn with a push mower
  • Washing your car by hand
  • Gardening
  • Scrubbing your floors and bathtub
  • Golfing

By incorporating more physical activities and routine exercise into your life, you will not only feel better but possibly decrease your risk of developing cancer as well.

To access the full article on using exercise to prevent cancer, click here.

In partnership with the YMCA, Hally Health focuses on a variety of topics aimed at people of any age or fitness level who want to stay healthy and active. Try this Mini Tabata workout that’s sure to get your heart pumping. To view all our YMCA partnership fitness videos throughout the month, please visit or