How can running protect you against cancer?

Exercise is one of the most important activities to make into a habit. In particular, running is such a simple form of exercise that only requires the proper clothes and a pair of shoes. There have been extensive studies that show how beneficial running is for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, and anxiety disorders. Cancer is a slightly counterintuitive disease that would seemingly not be affected; however, studies tell us otherwise.

Some cancers respond better to exercise than others. Colorectal cancer is one of the best examples of one that has its risk drastically reduced by regular exercise. In total, your risk reduces by 30-40%. The higher the intensity of your workout, the more benefits you get. In theory, running helps give you this preventative factor by regulating your body’s insulin, your metabolism, and changing your body’s inflammatory response. Similarly, breast cancer shows a reduction in risk as well, with studies ranging between 20%-80% reduction in preventing the disease. Studies also show a reduction between 20%-40% for endometrial cancer.

Another important factor is the role of exercise for those who have been diagnosed with cancer. Studies on survival rates are inconclusive at the moment, but there are increases in critical measurements including fatigue, responding to side effects of treatment, regulating a healthy weight and quality of life. Running may not be an antidote if you get cancer, but it can be beneficial on a number of levels to make it worthwhile and an important part of your recovery plan. 

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