Today I want to cover the potent effect of exercise on cancer. Study after study shows a major decrease in risk of certain cancers when a person exercises—we’re going to talk about why. Normal cells and cancer cells are very different.
A normal cell uses a lot of oxygen, but a cancer cell doesn’t have to use oxygen at all. A normal cell also has a lot of mitochondria, and a cancer cell doesn’t. A normal cell has a limited lifespan, whereas a cancer cell can live forever.
A normal cell is triggered to die, and that trigger comes from a byproduct of using oxygen called ROS. ROS is a reactive group of chemicals that influence the body and react to the body. Cancer cells have a deficiency of ROS, but normal cells have an abundance of ROS.
The more oxygen you can give your cells, the more ROS you will have to trigger apoptosis (cell death). This is one reason why things that lower oxygen enhances cancer—like smoking, an infection, or inflammation. Chronic stress and high glucose also cause lowered oxygen.
Research has shown that certain synthetic antioxidants can increase the risk of cancer. Could it be that the chemicals in synthetic antioxidants lower oxygen and therefore lower the apoptosis in cancer cells? I think so.
It’s crucial to understand this concept because there are things you can try to help potentially prevent cancer or slow things down if you have cancer. One of the biggest things that will increase oxygen and ROS is exercise.
Exercise can increase your oxygen by 10 to 20 times and ROS by 1000 times. Exercise also improves your blood sugars and insulin resistance, which can decrease the risk of cancer. If you exercise outside, you’ll get vitamin D and infrared light.
Both have been known to decrease the risk of cancer. Exercise will also increase the number of mitochondria to produce more oxygen and ROS.
Lastly, exercise will help improve your immune system to help you fight cancer. Besides exercise, one of the best things you can do to help fight cancer and potentially prevent cancer is to get on the correct diet.