Doctors believe that human physical activity contributes to the health of the heart, lungs and immune system, which may reduce the likelihood of cancer. Regular exercise also reduces inflammation in the body, which can cause the development of certain forms of cancer. “Patients should be informed about the connection of fitness with a reduced risk of developing cancer,” says Dr. Katherine Handy Marshall. “In addition to this, regular physical activity will help prevent the development of other dangerous conditions, such as heart disease.”
Scientists note that exercise helps food move through the digestive tract. This reduces the contact time of any harmful chemicals contained in human waste with the intestines, which reduces the risk of developing colon cancer. Physical activity also reduces the level of inflammation, which at elevated levels causes cells to divide more often. Uncontrolled cell division can lead to the formation of tumors. But, despite the advantages of sports, only two out of five adults are engaged in the recommended two and a half hours a week.
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To find out how exercise affects the risk of developing cancer, researchers examined 49,143 people with an average age of 54 years. Participants passed physical fitness tests on a treadmill. During 7 years of observations, 388 people developed lung cancer, and 220 people developed intestinal cancer. As a result, 282 lung cancer patients and 89 intestinal cancer patients died. The results showed that people who regularly performed physical exercises were 77% less likely to suffer from lung cancer and 61% less likely to have tumors in the intestines. And for those who have already developed cancer, physical activity helped to reduce the likelihood of death from lung cancer by 44%, and the chance of death from intestinal cancer – by 89%.