Physical inactivity creates havoc on the body and mind. Apart from the innumerable potential health problems it creates, e.g. increasing your risk of heart disease, inflammatory and degenerative diseases, it is also associated with an increased risk of polyps in the colon and bowel cancer itself.
One particular study raising awareness of this link was published in the British Journal of Cancer, March 9, 2011. It was based on a meta-analysis of 20 studies which focused on colonic adenomas, or pre precancerous polyps that are removed during sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Researchers collating this data revealed that regular physical exercise was linked with a 16% decrease in the risk of developing colonic polyps, and a 30% decrease in risk of developing large or advanced polyps, which were more likely to become cancerous. Earlier findings by the same research team, as well as other research findings, showed that exercise can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 25%.
In order to lower this very avoidable risk factor, as well as prevent overweight and obesity (a further risk factor for bowel and colorectal cancer), my best advice is, if you are living a more sedentary lifestyle currently, to make it your priority to become physically active, every single day.
To gain the potential benefits of reducing your risk of developing colon and bowel cancer, The American Cancer Society recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (e.g. brisk walking, swimming, water aerobics, bicycling with some hills, yoga, golf, ballroom dancing, pushing a lawn mower, actively playing with the kids) five or more days of the week. It is also preferable to obtain 45 to 60 minutes of intentional physical activity per day (e.g. housework, take the stairs instead of the elevator, take the dog for a walk, park the car further from the front door so you can get some exercise, get up from your chair at work, stretch and walk about for a couple of minutes, etc).
In fact, the risk of developing colon and bowel cancer continues to reduce the more physically active you become, and this relates to both men and women. This includes both recreational and occupational physical activity.
You may need to ask your health care professional’s advice on an appropriate exercise program suitable to your current state of health and lifestyle challenges. There are, of course, many ways to keep active, and most of them can be quite enjoyable and low-risk. If you haven’t been keeping physically active lately, begin now, and reduce your risk of bowel and colon cancer.
Overweight and Obesity
Research has shown a particularly strong association between obesity and being very overweight, and bowel/colorectal cancer.
The way fat is distributed on the body, for instance, visceral fat, or fat predominantly deposited around the abdomen or waist, has proven to be more riskier than the subcutaneous, evenly distributed fat, and men appear to be more generally affected by this fat distribution than women.
There is good news however, as you really can alter that risk by changing old unhealthy habits and behaviors.
So what can you do if you are currently overweight or obese? Be as lean as you can, or within the normal range of body weight for your height (BMI). Your BMI is calculated from your height and weight. Generally speaking, the higher the calculated BMI is, the higher the amount of body fat there is. Adults with a BMI between 18 and 25 are considered within the healthy body fat/weight category. People with a BMI between 25 and 30 are considered to be overweight, and anything over 30 indicates obesity. If you are having difficulties staying within the healthy weight range for your height, we have a long history of helping people lose weight.
There can be numerous causes for overweight and obesity, including unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as overeating and general inactivity. We have written many books assisting thousands of people around the world to lose weight and improve any underlying contributing health problem, empowering them to reclaim their personal best version of health and vitality, and to reduce the risk of getting cancer. Below is a list of titles: –
- “Can’t Lose Weight? Unlock the secrets that keep you fat”
- “Diabetes Type II You Can Reverse It Naturally”
- “Fatty Liver, You Can Reverse It”
- “The Body Shaping Diet”
- “Gluten, Is It Making You Sick or Fat?”
- “Want to Lose Weight…But Hooked on Food? How to break free and win!”
- “Raw Juices Can Save Your Life!”
- “The Liver Cleansing Diet”
- “Your Thyroid Problems Solved”
If you need further advice, please call our Health Advisory Service and speak to one of our Naturopaths on 1-888-755-483 or contact them by email
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.
Medscape Medical News – Oncology: Exercise Reduces Risk for Colon Polyps, Resulting in Less Colon Cancer/March 09, 2011
Cancer.org – Colorectal Cancer Facts and Figures 2011-2013
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – How much physical activity do adults need?
Wang Y, Jacobs EJ, Patel AV, et al. A prospective study of waist circumference and body mass index in relation to colorectal cancer incidence. Cancer Causes Control. Mar 6 2008.