“Exercise is the Best Medicine.”

Exercise is Medicine

Yes, we all are hoping that researchers can find a cure to cancer. Many of us are at some point in our lives, touched by cancer – whether it is our family, friends or even ourselves. So while seeking a cure we are now finding more and more research evidence that says – “Exercise is the Best Medicine.”

Teaching Balance Walking to Group

We are gaining headline attention by using phrases like; “Magic Pill” or “Wonder Drug” to describe the positive effects of Exercise over Cancer. That worries me to the extent that, catchy marketing media phrases used to draw attention can also turn people away from exercise. Remember – the old “too good to be true” line. I am more comfortable with leading others to exercise with one of Jack’s “LaLanne-isms.” He once said, “Exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.” Having said that, some things never change, and our human nature unfortunately only moves when we can get something for nothing, threatened, or are afraid of losing something.

macmillan cancer support logo

For years, we’ve known that a healthy diet and regular physical exercise is key to preventing cancer. The latest research is finding that for those who have already suffered from cancer, physical exercise can dramatically help with cancer patients’ recovery and long-term health. Macmillan Cancer Support, a British cancer charity, stated in a report that just 150 minutes of moderate exercise such as walking or gardening per week could reduce a breast cancer patient’s risk of recurrence or dying by 40 percent, reduce a prostate cancer patient’s risk of dying by 30 percent, and also help counteract negative cancer side effects such as fatigue, depression, osteoporosis and heart disease for all cancer patients. Additionally, getting more physical exercise can reduce the risk of colon cancer by as much as 50 percent.

Many Health Professionals Unaware of Benefits

However, despite strong emerging evidence that being physically active could dramatically improve cancer patients’ recovery and long-term health, a Macmillan online survey of 400 health professionals who deal with cancer patients found that many are not aware of this and most are not talking to their patients about it. Over half of the primary care doctors, nurses, and oncologists surveyed do not speak to their cancer patients about the benefits of physical activity, or at best they speak to just a few of them.

Ciaran Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, says, “Cancer patients would be shocked if they knew just how much benefit physical activity could have on their recovery and long-term health, in some cases reducing their chances of having to go through the grueling ordeal of treatment all over again.”

Exercise Not Just an Add-on to Care

According to Jane Maher, chief medical officer of Macmillan Cancer Support, “The advice I would previously have given to one of my patients would have been to ‘take it easy.’ This has now changed significantly because of the recognition that, if physical exercise were a drug, it would be hitting the headlines. There really needs to be a cultural change so that health professionals see physical activity as an integral part of cancer after-care, not just an optional add-on.” The Macmillan Cancer Support has created and is providing online many great tools and references that can be used when you are ready to begin exercise. One is the Move More Pack is a complete guide to becoming more active.

Balance Walking is Exercise for Everyone

We are training Masters, Coaches and Walk Leaders to teach and mentor new Balance Walkers beginning in the US and around the world. One of our new initiatives is to provide all of the local Susan G Komen Affiliates an Exercise and Prevention activity, by using the Poles for all their events, active walkers and supporters. In fact, even those who can not participate in the Komen Events, will support SGK with each pair of Balance Walking Poles purchased be directing a portion to go to Curing Breast Cancer.

Pole Walking group in park

Contact Terry Kennedy at tkennedy@balancewalking.com to get started with your Balance Walking Poles and program. It’s easy to learn, it’s for everyone and of course it’s a great exercise. If you might consider regular walking, then you will be excited to know that the benefits are multiplied almost 2 times when you grab your poles and move for as little as 5minutes at time.

Get Healthy — Get Exercise