Exercise and bowel cancer growth

One positive benefit of watching the awe-inspiring feats of Team GB’s gymnasts, swimmers and athletes at Tokyo’s Olympic Games might be the irresistible urge to get up and get active. The ‘participation effect’ is a well-known phenomenon whereby watching any sports, usually from your couch in front of the TV, can inspire you to embrace physical activity.

We are all too aware that exercise should be an integral and fundamental part of our daily life. Most of the time, the health focus for exercise has been placed on reducing weight and increasing potential lifestyle benefits.

However, in recent research unveiled at The Physiological Society’s Annual Conference, Physiology 2021, it has been shown that even conducting a small amount of daily exercise may be enough to ward off growths within the bowel that may lead to a diagnosis of cancer.

Exercise and bowel cancer growth

The link between physical activity and bowel cancer growth is well-established and has been extensively researched over many years.

While we are a nation that is becoming more and more sedentary, we need to take notice of the many years of scientific research that states that the more we exercise, the lower the risk becomes of developing bowel cancer.

The links are strong and it is possible that:

  • The more we move, the more efficient our digestive system is. Therefore, anything we eat is excreted at a much more efficient rate as opposed to sitting in our bodies for longer than is necessary. Having an efficient digestive system is particularly useful in ensuring that anything harmful or cancer-causing that lurks in the food we eat is removed as soon as possible. Exercise will increase the rate at which the digestive system moves food through to excretion.
  • The second consideration is inflammation, and this is particularly important within the bowel. Any instances of inflammation in the body, but especially in the bowel, is an indication that there is damage. When the inflammation becomes too much, there is a higher risk of the body duplicating its cells at a much faster rate and increasing the risk of cancer. By reducing the inflammation in the bowel by using exercise to maintain a healthy weight as well as achieving a lower percentage of body fat, we can reduce the risk of any inflammation developing into bowel cancer.
  • And now the new research presented at the Physiological Society’s Annual Conference has also found that physical activity may reduce the risk of getting bowel cancer, even if it doesn’t lead to weight loss, by altering the concentration of specific proteins in the blood.

From this, we can see that even a small amount of exercise on a daily basis can significantly reduce the instances and occurrences of bowel cancer.

A higher priority focus should be placed on the numerous cancer-reducing benefits that should outweigh only using exercise for weight loss alone.

If you have any queries relating to bowel cancer, get in touch to arrange a consultation with Mr Michael Stellakis.