Exercising to Prevent Colon Cancer

mature couple walking for exercise
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Research indicates that exercising can decrease colon cancer risk by up to 40%. Exercise also tends to reduce the incidence of other risk factors for colon cancer, like obesity and diabetes.

How Does Exercise Help Prevent Colon Cancer?

Your large intestine is kind of like a sewage plant. It recycles the stuff your body can use and stores the waste for disposal. The longer waste sits in the colon or rectum, the longer toxic materials have to leach out of the solidifying stool and back into your tissues.

Exercise gets your body moving, which gets the waste in your body moving. This is because exercise stimulates peristalsis, a wave-like muscular contraction that helps push waste through your colon.

Why Should I Care? What Are My Risks of Colorectal Cancer Anyway?

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of U.S. cancer deaths for women and men combined. In fact, more lives are lost each year to colorectal cancer than to AIDS and breast cancer combined. If you love yourself and you love the people who care about you, you have good reasons to care about preventing colon cancer.

What Can I Do to Start Exercising and Reduce My Risks?

Intentional exercise seems to be less important than simply leading an active lifestyle. In general, people don't have to go to the gym three-to-five times a week for an hour in order to reduce their risk of developing colorectal cancer. People can reduce their risk by increasing physical activity in their daily lives.

This can be accomplished by choosing a distant parking space, taking the stairs, shopping, cleaning, going for walks, playing with children or pets, and a multitude of other activities.

Of course, intentional exercise isn't bad either. But it's hard to do if you're forcing it on yourself. So, I recommend making a real effort to find a fun, physical past time.

Sex works, if you like it and you're safe and old enough and all the other caveats that should be added. Team sports like volleyball, basketball, hockey, and tennis are great for a lot of people. Individual sports like skating, swimming, walking, and running are great for others.

Exercising helps prevent colon cancer and makes you feel better. It can also be fun if you let it. Why not incorporate a bit more exercise into your daily routine?

Articles to Help Get You Moving:


  1. Calton, B. and Lacey, J. "Physical Activity and the Risk of Colon Cancer Among Women: A Prospective Cohort Study (United States)." International Journal of Cancer 119.2 (Jul. 2006): 385-391. PubMed. 28 Aug. 2006 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=16489545&dopt=Abstract].
  2. Rosenberg, L. and Boggs, D. "A Follow-Up Study of Physical Activity and Incidence of Colorectal Polyps in African-American Women." Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention 15.8 (Aug. 2006): 1438-1442. PubMed. 28 Aug. 2006 [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=AbstractPlus&list_uids=16896029&query_hl=6&itool=pubmed_docsum].