The uncontrolled growth of cells in any part of the body is cancer. It is a group of disease. Cancer kills millions of people every year in our world. Few can be curable if diagnosed in the early stages. We can do a lot to minimize the risk of cancer. The hereditary risk factor is only about 5% to 10%. The rest comes from our lifestyle, diet and environment. We see here the many ways to reduce the cancer risks.

Physical activity is the key to our health. We all know this. But, we have several excuses why don’t we do it regularly.

Last week a patient of mine came to me. She had 30 kg overweight. I tried to persuade her to do some physical activities. For each of my suggestions she had an argument why she didn’t do that. Uncontrolled food intake and a sedentary life are the reasons for overweight.

Physical activity helps us in many ways. The advantages include:

• Helps to protect you from developing certain cancers, e.g. breast, lung, colon and endometrial cancers
• Reduce the risk factors for high blood pressure, high cholesterol or triglycerides, heart disease and stroke
• Helps to prevent type 2 diabetes
• Reduces bone loss and thus prevents osteoporosis
• Improves mood and relieves the symptoms of anxiety and depression
• More calories are burnt and this means maintaining the weight or for many enjoying their food
• Very good to improve the mental fitness of seniors
• Improves sleep
• Improves general fitness
• Improves quality of life
• Makes healthy to live longer

It is never too late to start the physical activity. Physical activity is important for all, but how much one needs varies from individual to individual. 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity for 5 days in a week is considered optimum. You can do it continuously or with breaks. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines recommend the following for exercise:
• To reduce disease risk, at least 30 minutes daily of moderate-intensity physical activity, beyond your usual activities at home and work.
• To lose weight and prevent gradual weight gain, 60 minutes of moderate-to vigorous-intensity activity on most days.
• To keep of lost weight, 60 to 90 minutes of moderate-intensity activity.

The moderate-intensity physical activities include:

• Brisk walking for 35 min
• Gardening for 30 to 45 min
• Basketball (shooting baskets) for 30 min
• Playing volleyball for 45 min
• Bicycling 8 km in 30 min
• Fast dancing for 30 min
• Water aerobics for 30 min
• Swimming, 20 min
• Rope jumping, 15 min
• Self using of wheelchair, 30 to 40 min, personal experience
• Stair-climbing, 15 min

In vigorous-intensity physical activity one breaths rapidly and is able to speak in short phrases. The heart rate is increased and mostly results sweating. If possible the moderate-intensity physical activity and vigorous-intensity physical activity can be done alternatively. The vigorous-intensity physical activities include:

• Aerobic dancing
• Fast dancing
• Fast cycling
• Fast swimming
• Jogging
• Playing basketball, hockey, soccer, tennis etc.
• Race walking
• Hiking uphill

If you have not done more than a year any physical activity consult your doctor first. This is the case if you suffer from diseases too. Pregnant woman must also consult her doctor before starting her exercises.

Select the right physical activity, stay healthy and enjoy life…