Be physically active as a part of your everyday life — walk more and sit less.
Being physically active and exercising can lower your cancer risk, help you have a healthy weight and lessen your risk for numerous chronic diseases. Just 30 minutes of physical activity 5 times a week can go a long way towards improving your health.
To get the most out of your physical activity, combine it with a healthy diet. When you marry a plant-based eating style with intentional physical activity, you’ll more likely balance the calories you take in with what you burn, and you’ll more naturally have and maintain a healthy weight.
Sometimes getting started is the hardest step. There may be mental hurdles to overcome, and feelings of frustration to get through. But it’s never too late to start being active. And any type of physical activity is better than none.
Make it easy on yourself by starting simply, starting where you are, and taking one day at a time.
Meaning: If you used to run but you haven’t laced up in years, then don’t shoot for ten miles on day one. And, if you’ve never been into fitness, then don’t start with a high-intensity, cross training class.
Instead, set some realistic goals, make a plan, and try to get a little better each day.
Make A Plan
If you’ve never been physically active, consider starting your journey towards regular activity with a series of moderate, 15-minute exercise sessions. Do five sessions during week one. Then gradually add five, ten, or fifteen minutes over the next several weeks until each session gets past the 30-minute mark.
If you want to start really simply, then go for brisk walks. By walking 30 minutes a-day, five days a week you easily meet AICR’s recommendation to be physically active 150 minutes a-week and reduce your cancer risk.
If you haven’t been active in a while, begin with easy to moderate activities and build-up your time and intensity levels gradually. Warm up first by marching in place or walking for five minutes. Once you’re done with your exercise, take care of your muscles by stretching for a few minutes.
Over time, increase your exercise level to improve your fitness. Push yourself without causing pain or too much exhaustion. Mix up your activity routine to keep it interesting. During the week, spend time doing different kinds of exercise:
aerobic (try zumba or jogging)
strengthening (try lifting weights, doing body weight work, or using resistance bands)
balance (try tai chi and yoga)
flexibility (try stretching)
Keep Going, Keep At It
Being consistently active is all about your mindset. Instead of thinking of exercise as a task, consider physical activity as play. Have a good time moving and enjoy the world around you, knowing that you are creating a healthier life for yourself.
The best way to get active and stay active is to make sure you’re having fun. If you’re not into jogging solo, consider finding a group activity class that interests you. Maybe some yoga? Or dance? Or swimming? Or just hitting the gym?
One way to really make physical activity part of your lifestyle is to add some accountability. Maybe start getting fit with a friend or someone who can support you and help keep you on track.
Awareness of your progress is important. You can chart your activity in a workout journal or make a game out of counting your steps with a wearable fitness tracker.
However You Choose to be Active, You’ve Got to Move More, and Sit Less
Move More. You’ve got to move if you want to stay healthy. Physically active people tend to live healthier and longer. Plus, they enjoy more independence as they age.
And Sit Less. People who spend a lot of time sitting – to binge watch TV, for example – are more prone to unhealthy weight gain, cancer and other chronic diseases including type two diabetes and heart disease. If you spend your day at a sedentary job and then sit at your computer or television for a few hours every night, that sedentary lifestyle can increase your cancer risk.
Studies show that regular physical activity helps to support a healthy immune system, reduces chronic inflammation, and helps your body maintain healthy levels of hormones like insulin and estrogen.
Additionally, physical activity also helps you maintain a healthy weight – which boosts your overall health and offers a greater degree of protection from numerous forms of cancer.
Research shows that physical activity can help protect you directly from three types of cancer.
- Physical Activity can include just about any kind of movement. You don’t have to run a marathon to benefit from physical activity — in fact, research shows moderate physical activity, including walking, protects against weight gain and obesity.
- Don’t feel like a long walk? Three 10-minute walks each day provide as much physical benefits as one 30-minute stroll. Have chores to do around the house? Vacuuming the floor or mowing the lawn can count as much as a stroll around the neighborhood.
- Exercise refers to any structured physical activity such as yoga classes, tennis, bicycling, swimming, ballroom dancing and tai chi.