Get off the couch, away from the screen, and get moving! This is the message by women’s health expert and world renowned pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm who affirms exercise as a key factor to overall health.
Q: How much physical activity does a woman need to help reduce her risk of cancer?
Marla Ahlgrimm: In dozens of studies across the globe, researchers have found that women who exercise at least three hours per week are typically 20 – 30% less likely to receive a cancer diagnosis than their sedentary counterparts. These studies include breast cancer, which is one of the biggest fears of many women.
Q: How does exercise affect the body?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Burning calories helps the body regulate weight, and maintains a lower blood sugar level and body mass. Exercise also causes the body to act as its own anti-inflammatory and stimulates the body’s defense over foreign cells. Some scientists believe that cancer may be a natural response to over inflammation, so the more a woman can do to keep it at bay, the better.
Q: Isn’t estrogen also affected by exercise?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Yes! There is evidence that regular movement – specifically activity vigorous enough to cause the body to sweat – creates an environment where estrogen is broken down in a way that may prevent certain types of cancer.
Q: Does that mean light exercise doesn’t help?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Moderate activity does offer health benefits. However, to really reap the cancer-fighting rewards of motion, research suggests that you will have to exert yourself enthusiastically. This means to the point of increasing your heart rate and feeling out of breath. Once you reach this point, you know your body is working and will have to release all the beneficial chemicals it needs for recovery.