Although the role of exercise in preventing various cancers is not clear, researchers have suspected the maintenance of a healthy body weight to contribute. This reference to a healthy body weight relates more to the amount of fat (white fat to be exact, more on that later) that’s in the body as opposed to your actual weight. It’s now well-known that fat releases a host of hormones and what are known as cytokines. In fact, in some circles, fat tissue is considered an endocrine organ, similar to your adrenal glands and reproductive organs. Cancer development may be related to the release of these cytokines and hormones in excessive amounts. Exercising and cutting back on the amount of white fat stored in the body therefore leads to the reduction in these circulating compounds.
In terms of cardiovascular health, more is certainly known about the impacts of exercise, but more is still being uncovered. When we exercise, nitric oxide is released into our blood stream. This compound widens our blood vessels reducing the overall pressure on our artery walls. Likewise, our cardiorespiratory system improves its efficiency for transporting oxygen to our tissues by improving lung capacity as well as a process known as angiogenesis. “Angio–who?”–some may be asking. Angio- referring to blood vessels and -genesis relating to generation, this is a medical term for the growth and generation of new blood vessels. Additionally, research has found that cardiovascular exercise such as running, biking, swimming, and walking actually changes the make up of our muscles by increasing the number of type 1 muscle fiber and thereby improving endurance (read more). Ultimately, exercise improves the efficiency of these well-designed machines known as you and me!
When we exercise and move more, glucose (a simple form of sugar) is the primary source of energy used, with fat also expended depending on the duration and intensity of your exercise. This process in turn improves the efficiency of your body to utilize glucose during bouts of activity. Consequently, physical activity also aids in the control and prevention of diabetes by regulating blood glucose levels.
If you need more motivation in your journey to begin (or continue) your exercise regiment, set any excuses aside and discover the benefits for yourself. Take note of how you feel and your thought patterns before and after you exercise.
Just do it!