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Another Important Reason to Get Moving in 2013

Posted Jan 07 2013 8:00am

 Posted by Barbara Armstrong Green
The holidays might seem like a dream to you now, but for those of us who overindulged on those delicious cookies, it may feel more like a nightmare as we take that first dreaded step onto the bathroom scale.

I don't know about the rest of you, but it sure feels good to get back into my exercise routine. As the mother of three athletic sons, my husband and I spent most of our weekends watching our kids play everything from baseball to wrestling. It wasn't until our youngest son graduated from college and emptied our nest that I got serious about getting back into shape.

What's the Big Deal about Exercise?

My initial goal was to drop a few jean sizes. But the more I read about the dangers of obesity, the more I realize that exercise is an important key to health and longevity. And I plan to be around – and in good health – for a long time.

In his book, Super Immunity, Joel Fuhrman, M.D., has this to say about the importance of exercise: “Exercise not only helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections; it also decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. The key to the longevity-promoting effects of exercise is maintaining a high degree of exercise tolerance and fitness.”

Try to break a sweat. Dr. Fuhrman reported that middle-aged men followed for 26 years by researchers found that those who exercised vigorously lived the longest. According to Dr. Fuhrman, “It truly is survival of the fittest!” In other words, “It is not sufficient just to take walks. Adding on more exerting exercise, where the heart rate is elevated, and sustaining that elevation for at least five minutes has additional benefits.” To elevate your heart-rate jog or jump in place and exercise at least three times a week. You don't need to do extreme events such as marathons, which may put too much stress on the body.

Colorectal Cancer and the Benefits of Exercise

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer affecting both men and in women and the second cause of cancer death in men and in women in the United States. The National Institutes of Health estimates that 143,460 Americans will be diagnosed with colorectal cancer, and 51,690 will die from the disease in 2012.

Colorectal cancer has been one of the most extensively studied cancers in relation to physical activity, with more than 50 studies examining this association. According to the National Cancer Institute (NIH), “Many studies in the United States and around the world consistently found that adults who increase their physical activity, either in intensity, duration or frequency, can reduce their risk of developing colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent relative to those who are sedentary regardless of body mass index (BMI), with the greatest risk reduction seen among those who are most active.
”The magnitude of the protective effect appears greatest with high-intensity activity, although the optimal levels and duration of exercise are still difficult to determine due to differences between studies. NIH estimates that 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day is needed to protect against colon cancer.
I enjoy taking Pilates and Yoga classes at our local gym and walk with friends on the weekend. Working out on a regular basis has been one of the highlights of my year. I took it slow at first and didn’t know if I would be able to keep up. But I soon realized that everyone else was in the same boat. And just showing up is half the battle. Little by little, I got stronger and increased by stamina. I love the camaraderie and feel healthier and more energized than ever. I don’t know why it took me so long to get started. But I don’t intend to quit any time soon.
Your Turn: Share some of the ways you plan to get in better shape in 2013 and beyond.

Sources: National Cancer Institute and Super Immunity: The Essential Nutrition Guide for Boosting Your Body’s Defenses to Live Longer, Stronger, and Disease, Author: Joel Fuhrman, M.D.

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A dance aerobic session at our recent health fair
Young people join in the fun at our health fair
Eighth Annual 5K Run and Family Walk

Eighth Annual 5K Run and Family Walk
Eighth Annual 5K Run and Family Walk

Medical Disclaimer The information presented on the Susan Cohan Colon Cancer web site is solely intended to provide you with information that will help educate you on the importance of diet, exercise and regular cancer screening in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Adopting these habits is an individual choice and one that should only be made after consultation with your health care professional. No information provided on this Web site or otherwise offered is intended to replace or in any way modify the advice of your health care professional.
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