Browsing all articles tagged with hormones

Working Out Prevents Cancer in Women

Two of the most common cancers in women are breast and endometrial cancer. These are hormonally caused cancers that are caused by hormones going out of whack.  Exercise can help with these “female” cancers because physical activity has been shown to regulate and calm the production, metabolism and elimination of the toxins produced by female hormones running amok.



Studies have also shown that there is a relationship between being fatter and breast and endometrial cancer.  Exercise obviously can help you lose weight so you do not become more susceptible to developing these hormonally based cancers.

This past fall, a Canadian study found that the women who were least likely to develop breast cancer engaged in the moderate exercise of doing daily household or farming chores.  Researchers concluded that it was not so much the intensity of the exercise that was helping, but rather the regularity of it.



In 2009,  a massive study, based on questionnaires given to 121,701 women over twenty years was conducted by the Nurses Health Study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Boston. This study found that women who worked out between two to four hours a week reduced their chances of getting cancer by twenty percent.  A smaller but similar study done in Norway in 1997 found the same thing. Women who exercised four hours a week were about one third less likely to get breast cancer.



In the Brigham study it was noted that the exercise reduces the level of circulating estrogens in a woman’s body.  The reason that this is negative is because estrogen stimulates the growth of breast cells which could mutate and cause cancer.



Women are actually vulnerable to these types of cancers their entire life. The most important thing is to exercise in moderation because if you exercise to the point that you have minimized your estrogen levels you can increase your risk of bone loss and heart disease.

Menopausal and post-menopausal women are at particular risk for cancer because they are overproducing and under producing hormones. Exercise has protective benefits for hormonal women because it helps to reduce fat.



The idea is that the leaner you are, the less natural estrogens you will produce. The less estrogens that are in the body, the less of a welcoming field your changing body will be to developing cancer.

You do not have to work out like a female fitness model. Simple, yet sustained activity is best . Try walking or cycling. As long as you working out consistently and every day you should be giving your body the edge when it comes to preventing breast or ovarian cancer.


How Exercise Benefits the Immune System

Cancer is caused by a failure of your immune system to fight off mutant cells that in turn build tumors in the body. This is why it is so important to have a healthy immune system in the first place.



First off let’s look at some of the factors that cause immune system dysfunction. This includes age, cigarette smoking, stress, poor nutrition, lack of sleep and over training.



Many studies have shown that regular moderate exercise boosts immunity and in turn prevents cancer. The key is consistency and being “sane about it.”  Working out or walking for an hour every day is going to leave your immune system in healthier shape than slogging it out for three hours every day.



During moderate exercise immune cells travel through the body more quickly and are better able to kill bacteria and viruses. After exercise ends, the immune system generally returns to normal within a few hours.



However if you exercise too hard the body goes into an emergency mode that leaves you less resistant.  Intense exercise seems to cause a temporary decrease in the functioning of the immune system. Research has found that during intense physical exertion, the body produces certain hormones that temporarily lower immunity.


Exercise also helps reduce psychological stress and cancer patients are under a great deal of duress. Exercise can help lower the levels of cortisol and adrenalin in the blood.



One study at Appalachian State University found that the immune system improved  in individuals who simply took a walk for forty minutes a day. These individuals had half as many sick days due to colds and flues.



The same study found that athletes who exercised hard for more than ninety minutes were vulnerable to disease for over 72 hours after they exercised. This is because exercising too hard raises blood pressure as well as cortisol and adrenalin levels. This makes you more prone to illness.



So should you exercise if you don’t feel well?  if you have mild symptoms and no fever, light or moderate exercise may help you feel a bit better and actually boost your immune system. Intense exercise will only make things worse and likely put you in bed for a few years.

Symptoms that indicate that you might have been working out too hard include irritability, general heaviness and fatigue.



A fitness trainer can work with you and make sure that you are pacing yourself and working out at a rate that is not going to compromise your body’s ability to recover.