Daily exercise lowers risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s: Study
Regular physical activity is known to improve your overall physical health as well as your mental health. In a new study, researchers say exercise can also reduce your risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
They say exercise strengthens a person’s muscles and increases blood flow to the brain, among other benefits.
It’s recommended adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.
There is little doubt that exercise improves your overall health and well-being. It improves heart and lung health. It lifts your mood and increases your stamina.
Now, researchers say they are discovering that physical activity may reduce the risk of two high-profile diseases — cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
“If exercise could be bottled up and sold in pill form, it would be the most widely prescribed medicine in the world for the numerous physical and mental health benefits,” Todd Buckingham, PhD, an exercise physiologist at Mary Free Bed Sports Rehabilitation & Performance Lab in Wyoming, Michigan, told Healthline.
Physical exercise and cancer risk
More than 46,000 cancer diagnoses could be avoided with 5 hours of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, according to a study published this week.
Physical activity is any movement that uses skeletal muscles and requires you to exert more energy than you would when resting. The activities include running, walking, dancing, biking, swimming, participating in sports, and even doing household chores.
Exercise and Alzheimer’s disease
Scientists have looked at how exercise affects cognitive function for many years, but this topic became more accepted over the past 15 to 20 years.
“Alzheimer’s disease occurs due to an ‘increased oxidative state’ in the brain. Studies have shown that physical activity is important for cells and tissues to resist the oxidative stress,” Dr. Santoshi Billakota, an adult neurologist, epileptologist and clinical assistant professor within the Department of Neurology at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, told Healthline.
“Exercise also leads to increased oxygenation and blood flow, resulting in improved memory, neurogenesis, and brain plasticity. Exercise is beneficial in the prevention and progression of dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease” Billakota said.
Your brain exercises both physically and cognitively.
Physical exercise, such as aerobic or strength activities, indirectly improves brain function by increasing neuroplasticity, which in turn increases cognition.
So does motor skills training, which includes activities that require thinking to complete, such as learning a new language or playing a strategy game.