Women’s Health Week is a prime time to focus on improving your overall well-being, including one’s physical and mental wellness. However, one aspect of women’s health that is often overlooked is the role of exercise in cancer care and prevention. Here are five activities you can do to help with cancer prevention during Women’s Health Week:
1. Yoga: Yoga is a great way to improve your flexibility, balance, and strength. It has also been shown to reduce stress and anxiety, which can help lower your risk of developing cancer. Research suggests that practicing yoga may help reduce the risk of breast cancer and improve the quality of life for women undergoing cancer treatment. Try a beginner’s yoga class to get started.
2. Cardiovascular Exercise: Cardiovascular exercise, such as running, cycling, or swimming, can help improve your heart health and reduce your risk of cancer. Studies have shown that women who engage in regular cardiovascular exercise have a lower risk of developing breast and colon cancer. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise per week. Besides reducing the risk of several types of cancer, cardiovascular exercise can also improve insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and improve blood lipid profiles, too. These benefits can reduce the risk of heart disease, another major health concern for women.
3. Strength training: Strength training is an essential component of overall wellness, and it can also help reduce your risk of cancer. By building muscle, you increase your metabolism, which helps you burn more calories even when you’re not working out. Strength training can also help lower your risk of breast and colon cancer. Aim for at least two strength-training sessions per week. Resistance band exercises can be a convenient and effective way to incorporate strength training into your routine. This form of exercise is important for maintaining muscle mass and bone density, particularly as we age. It can also improve your balance and coordination, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.
4. Pilates: Pilates can improve respiratory function and reduce the risk of respiratory infections. This is important for cancer prevention because the lungs are a common site of metastasis for several types of cancer. Pilates can also reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can have a positive impact on mental health and well-being.
5. Walking: Studies have shown that women who walk regularly have a lower risk of breast and colon cancer. Aim for at least 30 minutes of brisk walking each day to get your heart rate up and improve your overall health. Walking can also improve cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, and improve insulin sensitivity, all of which are important for cancer prevention. This form of exercise also increases exposure to natural light, which can improve mood and reduce the risk of depression. It’s one of the easiest and accessible form of exercise that can be done nearly anywhere and at any time.
By incorporating these five exercises into your routine during Women’s Health Week, you can help your overall health while reducing your risk of cancer. Remember to consult with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine, especially if you have a history of cancer or other medical conditions.