New studies confirm the importance of physical activity in the fight against cancer. They particularly highlight the benefits of yoga to avoid relapses.
Last June was held the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the world’s largest conference on cancer. Three new studies on the benefits of physical activity for patients were presented. According to researchers, the practice of yoga would reduce the risk of spread, recurrence and death in people with cancer.
Why is yoga recommended for cancer?
The first two studies conducted at the University of Rochester (USA) aimed to understand how yoga improved ” All “ : ” from pain to insomnia, fatigue, quality of life and anxiety “, explains Dr. Karen Mustian, professor-dean in the department of surgery and the cancer center at the university and principal author of the research on yoga, to our colleagues from Medical News Today.
The first study focuses on the effects of yoga for reduce inflammation, a phenomenon favoring the growth and spread of tumours. In addition, there is a link between chronic inflammation and cancer recurrence: this promotes the “awakening” of residual cancer cells in patients in remission. The study consists of more than 500 patients in remission, with an average age of 56 years. Divided between yoga and health education classes, each group participated in 75-minute sessions twice a week. After a month, blood tests revealed that the people who practiced yoga had a much lower level of pro-inflammatory markers than the other patients. ” Our data suggest that yoga significantly reduces inflammation in cancer survivors“, wrote the authors of the study. “ Doctors should consider prescribing yoga for survivors with inflammation “, adds Dr. Mustian. In the past, we tended to want to spare patients, but today most doctors recommend exercise.
The second study focused on the effects of yoga on fatigue and quality of life patients (173 people aged over 60). The findings proved that yoga would be far more effective in relieving participants’ fatigue than health education classes. Yoga would benefit not only virtually all cancer survivors, but also those over the age of 65.
Indeed, many studies have already demonstrated the many health benefits of yoga. And that goes for everyone, even for patients who have never been affected by cancer. Yoga is useful for:
Why is physical activity in general important against cancer?
The latest study presented at the congress showed that cancer patients who remained active despite the disease saw their risk of death reduced by almost a fifth. Conducted for 6 years at the Instituto de Medicina Integral in Brazil, the study involved more than 2,600 patients. They were classified according to their level of activity: those considered to be the most active practiced 30 minutes of walking five days a week.
After 180 days, ” 90% of people in the active group were still aliveversus 74% in the sedentary group “, reports The Guardian. Doctor Jurema Telles de Oliveira Lima, who supervised the study, explains that any activity is beneficial for patients, even small household chores. The important thing would be to avoid sitting or lying down for long periods of time.” We must also educate the family “, she added. ” It is very common for the family to want to protect the elderly person when they have cancer, for example by saying: ‘I’m not going to let him do anything or go anywhere.‘ We must tell the family that physical activity can be beneficial for the patient, including psychologically “.
Other gentle physical activities include swimming, water aerobics or walking. And if walking 10,000 steps a day seems impossible to you, know that doing 5 minutes of walking per hour is already very beneficial for your health according to a study.