PREVENTING SERIOUS ILLNESS THROUGH EXERCISE
The noted 12th century physician and Jewish scholar known as “the Rambam” disclosed that a proper, healthy diet was the first of eight health secrets that prevent serious illness and disease. Naturally, his second secret shares a strong correlation with the first: adequate exercise. Building on his ancient analogy that compares how humans care for their horses in the same way that they should care for themselves, he states:
“He makes sure his animal gets proper exercise to keep healthy. When it comes to himself, he neglects exercise even though it is a fundamental principle to health maintenance and the prevention of most illnesses.”
Ancient Chinese physicians also realized the importance of prevention. The Neijing, an ancient medical text dating back 2,000 years states:
“To administer medicine to a disease that has already developed is comparable to the behavior of those persons who begin to dig a well after they have become thirsty. Or those who have begun to cast weapons after they have already engaged in battle. Would these actions not be too late.”
THE BENEFITS OF EXERCISE
As society becomes increasingly modernized, the amount of exercise individuals get dwindles quickly. Renaissance Health Centre treats many cancer patients. If there were a single tool for cancer treatment available, exercise would be the most comprehensive option. Exercise is not only the most effective prevention of cancer, but of any other disease as well. Several studies show just how effective exercise is in not only preventing cancer, but also in treating it.
POSITIVE OUTCOMES FOR CANCER PATIENTS WHO EXERCISE
One meta-analysis conducted using 27 observational studies between 1950-2011 found consistent evidence that physical activity is associated with reduced risk (41-61%) of all breast and colon cancer-specific mortality. Higher muscle mass with lower fat mass correlated to better survival in cancer patients. Another recent study showed strong evidence of lowered risk for colon, breast, kidney, endometrial, esophageal and gastric cancers and moderate evidence of lowered risk for lung and prostate cancers.
Furthermore, women who engaged in the equivalent of at least two to three hours of brisk walking each week in the year before they were diagnosed with breast cancer were 31% less likely to die of the disease than women who were sedentary before their diagnosis. Women who
increased their physical activity after diagnosis had a 45% lower risk of death when compared with women who were inactive both before and after diagnosis. Women who decreased physical activity after diagnosis had a four-fold greater risk of death. Another study showed that with exercise, there was a 48% decrease in the recurrence of colon cancer.
RECOMMENDED EXERCISE REGIMEN
Thirty minutes of exercise everyday is the threshold for patients to experience these benefits. Pilates, yoga, and brisk walking for at least 45 minutes four to six times per week is most effective. Vigorous exercise (75% of maximal heart rate or to the point of perspiration) is most beneficial, but even a couple minutes of physical activity every couple hours per day is still effective. It is also important to note that men and women should feel confident when they exercise. Traditional gyms tend to facilitate comparisons with others, so outside activities involving nature are prefered. Studies show that killer cell activity is higher when performing nature-related activities as opposed to non-nature activities.
Substantial exercise is the Rambam’s second recommendation for preventing disease. Physical activity is proven to have seemingly endless benefits for overall health. Yoga is a particularly beneficial modality. There is no better time than now to start moving your body and developing a personal yoga practice. At Renaissance Health Centre, we are proud to introduce our very own yoga studio just steps away from the main office. Please call 702-258-7860 to book your first yoga class at Pure Yoga today!