Friday, 11 July 2014

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Exercise and Cancer

There are two words I would use to describe myself – greedy and lazy. If I could sit on the sofa eating chocolate and watching box sets of my favourite TV shows all day, I would. After a period where I was quite ill and feeling very unhealthy I have tried to force myself to like exercise. It’s handy that I’ve moved back home for a while because I’ve been able to walk my mum’s dog, Bugsy, with her and I’ve developed a routine for exercise. Amazingly I do feel a lot better and it shows in my skin, my weight and my energy levels. I also sleep very verywell now which is perfect because I developed insomnia during the recent stress.

Somehow I have allowed my friends, Andy, Gower and Clive, to persuade me to enter The London Marathon 2015. To be honest I have no idea how this happened but it is giving me something to aim for and push me to head out for exercise when I really would rather sit at home with a Chinese. I thought I’d end the week with a blog post about exercise and the importance of keeping active in honour of my new more active lifestyle :)


We all know that being physically active is good for your heart but research has also shown that is also reduces the risk of breast, bowel and uterine cancer. It is believed that being active helps to prevent around 3,000 cancer cases in the UK every year.

The recommended guideline is that adults should aim for about 2.5 hours of moderate activity every week, although you could be like me and break that time into more manageable chunks to fit in around a busy lifestyle.Obviously the more activity you do, the more benefits you reap. You don’t need to join a gym or anything like that if you don’t want to as quite a few everyday activities count as moderate activity. You’re aiming for anything that gets you slightly warm and out of breath so this could include:

*power walking



*strenuous housework


I work forty hours a week and my commute to and from work is around an hour each way. I also have to factor in life in general and my volunteer work so the best way for me to get my 2.5 hours of exercise is through daily activity. For example I try to take the stairs at Regents Park tube station rather then get the lift. I also get off the bus from the train station 3 stops earlier on my way home from work and walk up the hill to my mum’s house. Now the marathon is thrown into the mix I have to slowly start doing more in the way of running but I’m building my way up slowly :)

Exercise and Weight:

The world seems to be obsessed with weight. Being physically active does help you manage your weight, as long as it is combined with a relatively healthy diet. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I can happily eat my body weight in sweet stuff and still want more. As I get older I do notice the stuff I eat making its presence known on my body and the scales. Someone once told me sugar is more addictive then heroin and I actually believe that. I tried to give up sugar once and it was one of the worst weeks of my life – the headaches were horrific and I was a horrible cow to everyone coming into contact with me! There is no way I could ever diet, I’m not one for depriving myself but I am slowly learning to restrict myself and try to eat a bit better. I have been promised that I don’t have to give up cake whilst training for the marathon so that’s a silver lining :)


Exercise and Cancer Risk:

Scientists are developing more and more theories about how exercise and physical activity can reduce the risk of certain cancers developing. Obviously different thingsaffect different cancer types but here are a few theories:

Hormones  Exercise can lower the level of oestrogen in women. Oestrogen is a possible catalyst for some types of breast and uterine cancers so reducing oestrogen levels could also help to reduce the risk of developing these cancers. It can also reduce the amount of Insulin in our bodies and this is very important as there are somescientists that believe insulin can activate signals that get cells to multiply. As we know multiplying cells can get out of control and lead to cancer so it helps reduce the risk of certain cancer types if insulin levels are reduced.

Bowel Movements – exercise apparently helps food move through the bowels faster which reduces the amount of contact the bowel lining has with harmful chemicals, such as those found in alcohol and processed meat. This hopefully means there is less chance of them causing any damage that can lead to cancer

Bowel Inflammation – Inflammation is a way in which our bodies react when we are injured or battlinginfections. It can sometimes cause damage, especially if it keeps happening in one particular place, and it can eventually lead to cells multiplying at a more frequent rate so they can replace dead or damaged ones. Exercise can reduce bowel inflammation which should help reduce the risk of bowel cancer.

It is Never too Late!

Even if you are really inactive now, it is never too late to start exercising! Cancer Research UK have some brillianttips for how to get yourself started:

*Slowly build up your exercise time over time

*Break the 2.5 hours up into smaller chucks, possible 30mins per day during the week

*Spend less time sitting around (hard if you have an office job like mine I know!)

*Set yourself a challenge (hey you can always run the marathon!)


I’ll keep you guys updated on the marathon training when it actually kicks off. I have a feeling it is going to be hellish for me but rather amusing for those that know me. I do know it will be an amazing thing to accomplish and you never know, I could become one of those people that runs for fun eventually?! The marathon is the day after my birthday next year so I am planning to celebrate with a massive amount of cake at the end....if I make it to the finish line in one piece! Donations and offers of piggy back rides will be very much welcome :)

For more information on exercise and other healthy living facts please take a look at CRUK’s website

If you are thinking of looking into a challenge to motivate yourself then there are so any events you can do to raise money for CRUK, take a look at their events page

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