Tag Archives: United States

Cancer and Exercise.

English: Nutrigenomics: bring disease, cancer,...

English: Nutrigenomics: bring disease, cancer, diet and genetics together (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Recent press articles in the UK have trumpeted the alarming fact that “Half of the UK population will get cancer in their lifetime,” but if one reads further through the reports there was also another eye-opening claim:  “Exercise is so effective in the prevention and rehabilitation of cancer, that if it were a drug; it would be a wonder drug.”

Why am I not surprised? In my mind, these findings lead me to imagine a situation in which it is suddenly realized that that food (even in minute portions) is now the new wonder drug to cure  famine!

The tragic reality is that the vast majority of the population suffers from exercise hunger or acute chronic exercise deficiency. Inactivity is now the 4th preventable cause of death. Based on a survey of 153,000 people, only 5% of UK adults meet the minimum physical activity recommendations. (NHS Sport & Exercise Medicine Sept. 2011) and only 3% do not smoke, have normal weight, eat 5 fruits and/or vegetables per day and exercised sufficiently. (Ach. Intern. Med. 165:854, 2005). On the other hand, regular exercisers are up to 50% less likely to be affected by serious illness, including cancer. (NHS Sport & Exercise Medicine Sept. 2011).

45% of the US population has at least one chronic disease (including cancer). By 2025, it is estimated that the proportion will increase to 49%, or about half the population! Behavioural risk factors for chronic disease include physical inactivity, an unhealthy diet and smoking. (WHO).

In spite of the fact that the intimate details of the preventive and curative aspects of exercise are not widely known, efforts are being made to develop special training regimes and specialized coaches for specific medical conditions. The ACSM/ACS (USA) offers courses for a “Certified Cancer Exercise Trainer”, with requirements that include a Bachelor’s Degree. (American College of Sport Medicine).  In principle, this is a development I welcome, though much more research is necessary.

I am, however worried that, it is readily forgotten that exercise must be combined with diet in order to achieve the desired results. Diet should be tailored and timed to the training regime. Certain dietary components that were present in the mid-Victorian diet contain enzymes that induce cancer cell arrest. (J.R.S.M. 101(9):454 2008). These components and avoidance of the carcinogens present in many modern foods should be incorporated. I’m convinced that reduced energy expenditure or lack of exercise and the increased consumption of processed and less nutritious foods are the main causes of the dramatic continuing increase in chronic disease.

A specified training regime, for cancer patients, administered by a certified cancer exercise trainer together with a diet, tailored to the exercise regime as well as being anti-carcinogenic seems a valid prescription.  Sadly, the recommendation is often just a short walk.

Perhaps the cancer patients are often so weak that even a 30 min. walk is very demanding or the knowledge of exercise and it’s inter-relationship with nutrition is sparse. Either way, both are disturbing.

Humanity is being compromised by inactivity


Health (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)


It seems that most attention is focused on what I do and not why I do it.  The main object of what I do is not only to have a beach body but also to draw attention to the fact that huge numbers of humans are destroying their brains and mental capacity.

There was recently a supplement in the Economist on Obesity. There is now a briefing on “Innovation Pessimism”. To summarise; Innovation and new technology have stopped driving growth! While the Economist seems to think that red tape is a culprit, in my mind the cause could be inactivity – this is a subject that no-one seems to have touched upon.

We know that physical activity has a direct impact on the brain; we know that inactivity has increased so much that it is now the 4th major cause of death; we know that in 1950, the average R&D worker in the US contributed almost 7 times more ‘total factor productivity” than in 2000 and, we know that in 1970 real output per person increased 3% per year whereas in 2000 the increase was less than 1%.

Our whole capacity to solve the huge problems that face humanity are being compromised by inactivity which affects the brain.  Slowly, more attention in the media is being given to the enormous future health costs. But almost nobody points out that we could prevent disaster just by small changes in life style

Quoting the Financial Times, Jan 22nd 2013 page 7, re America’s debt dilemma: “It is in the 2020s when the big spending will start. The baby boomers into their 70s will start getting sick….  The revenue and spending paths will become irreconcilable. Debt will pile up – and quickly”

“Fitch, the ratings agency, has served notice to many countries that an aging population threatens their credit rating.”  (Economist Vol. 406 No. 8823 Feb 16-22 2013 p.22 ).  My questions are simple;

  • Does nobody care about making older people healthier and economically productive?
  • Or turning them into a positive economic factor?

At present, old people burden the health system and in doing so, they not only cause huge costs but are also responsible for lower credit ratings!

In the UK, in the space of 10 years from 2001-2 to 2011-2, health costs have more than doubled from £59.8 billion to £121.4 billion (Economist Vol. 406 Nr.8826). The aged are probably the main cause of the enormous £60 billion increase,- and the number of the aged is continuously increasing.

Humanity is faced with huge problems that can only be solved by healthy brains in healthy bodies. Yet we are destroying our health with our lifestyle, poor diet and lack of exercise. We all can and must take more responsibility for the health of our own bodies and minds and thus humanity.