News & Insights 20 June 2023

Physical activity can be crucial for people fighting cancer

Three studies presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology have shown walking for 30 minutes a day and practising yoga can help reduce feelings of fatigue and cut the risk of the disease spreading, returning or resulting in death for cancer patients, both during and after treatment.

The first study looked into the effects of yoga on inflammation. Inflammation is an important factor because it is associated both with cancer development and progression (Chou et al., 2022). Participants were assigned to either practice yoga or attend health education class for a month. The study found that those who practised yoga had significantly lower pro-inflammatory markers resulting in lower risk or tumour progression, recurrence and spread.

The second study also investigated the effects of practicing yoga compared to attending health education classes but this time the outcome measures were feelings of fatigue and quality of life. Once again, yoga was found to be more beneficial for cancer patients and results showed that yoga can reduce fatigue levels and increase quality of life.

Lastly, the third study looked into the effects of walking on people fighting this condition. Those who stayed active i.e., going for at least one 30-minute walk five days a week, reduced their risk of dying due to the disease by almost 20%.

It’s important to note that walking and yoga are just two examples of low-impact activities that could play a vital role in managing the long-term health of people with cancer. As Dr Jurema Telles de Oliveira Lima, who led the third study, suggests, even doing chores or carrying shopping home could make a difference. Staying active significantly reduces the risk of fatal outcomes of cancer (Morishita et al., 2020) and you can choose movements that best suit your circumstances and needs. No matter how small the movement, it matters!

These studies add to the existing scientific evidence that shows you don’t need to set foot in a gym or engage in strenuous exercise in order to be active and benefit from movement. Whenever you are preparing food, gardening or doing anything that makes you move a little bit more during the day can reduce your sedentary time – something that has been known for years to have a negative impact on your health (Park et al., 2020). A brisk walk or pottering around the house might not seem like much in the moment, it can benefit your health. If you want to learn more about the relationship between physical activity and cancer and the role of KiActiv® Health in helping you self-manage your movement levels you can click here.

The evidence on the beneficial effects of movement continues to pile up, and, most importantly, it shows that movement doesn’t need to be structured exercise for you to feel the benefits. We can all find everyday movements that we enjoy and feel comfortable doing. Every move you make can matter and have the power to change your life for the better, whether you are fighting cancer or not.

Here at KiActiv® it is our mission to help you understand your movement patterns and incorporate movements in your day-to-day life that you enjoy and sustain. We acknowledge that everyone’s experience of cancer treatment and recovery is different and there is no single approach that suits everyone. The personalised nature of the service puts the client in control and enables them to take responsibility over their own health and set realistic goals within their personal context and needs.

If you would like start your journey to living a healthier, happier life you can click here to get started.

The KiActiv® Team