Physical activity is defined as any movement that uses skeletal muscles and requires more energy than when resting, and it is essential for a balance between the number of calories consumed and the number of calories used. Physical activity may include exercise, housework and activities such as hiking, tennis, cycling and swimming.
Scientists have convincingly related that when more calories are consumed than are spent, this results in a higher risk of suffering from different types of cancer. Also, studies have shown that physical activity can reduce the risk of some cancers. This is because, it has been shown that physical activity causes a reduction in the levels of some hormones (estrogens and androgens), of insulin in the blood, as well as reduces the chronic inflammation characterized by high levels of interleukins, since, in together, these factors can alter the process of cell proliferation, resulting in the development of a malignant tumor.
Tumors in which a beneficial effect of physical activity has been demonstrated are the following:
- Colon cancer: it is one of the most studied cancers in relation to physical activity. Studies have shown that people who do physical activity seem to have a lower risk of suffering from this type of cancer. It has also been observed that physical activity is associated with a lower risk of polyps, which can become colon cancer.
- Breast cancer: women who perform physical activity have a global risk reduction of 20 to 80% compared to inactive women. Studies have shown that women with breast cancer with moderate physical activity have a higher survival rate than sedentary women, this is particularly observed in women with positive hormone receptor tumors.
- Endometrial cancer: it has been observed in different studies that the risk of suffering from this type of cancer is reduced by approximately 20% in women with active physical activity.
For the other types of cancers, there is limited evidence as to a relationship with physical activity.
In summary, physical exercise has the following benefits in relation to cancer:
- Reduces the risk of cancer.
- It reduces the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy
- Decrease fatigue
- Decreases cancer recurrence.
- Increase quality and life expectancy.
- Improves vital energy.
- Reduction of inflammation
- Improved immune system function
- Improves social relationships.
- Improves mobility and balance in general.
- Improves self-esteem.
- Decreases the level of dependence of third parties.
- Improves the quality of sleep.
- Decreases the level of anxiety, depression and stress.
- Helps control weight.