Is Exercise the Best Medicine, Even for Cancer?

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 We’ve all heard the saying, “Exercise is the best medicine.” Many of us can attest from personal experience that physical activity is beneficial for managing our weight, regulating our sleep and boosting our mental health. Now, years of research confirm that exercise not only enhances our overall well-being but also reduces our risk of getting cancer.

An international multidisciplinary roundtable convened by the American College of Sports Medicine found that physical activity helps prevent seven types of cancer: bladder, breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal, kidney and stomach. The report also showed that regular exercise alleviates cancer patients’ side effects, increases their survival rates and improves their long-term quality of life.

At CARTI, we’ve long promoted physical activity, whether as part of tailored treatment plans, free yoga classes at The Bridge or annual fundraisers like Tour de Rock. Consistent with the American Cancer Society, we recommend adults get 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity weekly. This cardio should be paired with resistance training and stretching exercises, both done at least twice weekly.

Exercise makes us healthier and happier, but its benefits don’t stop there. Physical activity is a proven method for preventing and managing cancer risk. For those wanting to support their wellness while uplifting cancer patients in our state, join us at the 21st Annual Tour de Rock on Saturday, June 1.

Diane Wilder, M.D. is a fellowship-trained, board-certified medical oncologist with CARTI. She sees patients at the not-for-profit cancer care provider’s flagship campus in Little Rock and the CARTI Cancer Center in North Little Rock.

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