You know Batman fights the Joker, Penguin, and Cat Woman, but did you know Batman fights Cancer as well?
A major study confirmed a link between exercise and cancer risk: namely, that the more you exercise, the lower your risk of cancer. The three cancers with the clearest connection (perhaps because they were the most studied) were breast, colon, and endometrial (lining of the uterus) cancers. This major study was an analyzed conglomerate of smaller studies. To be fair, one of the smaller studies did not find that exercise lowers your risk of getting cancer. It did, however, find that exercise lowers your risk of dying if you get cancer. Holy statistics, Batman, that’s still a good reason to take a walk.
How does Batman the Exerciser lower cancer risk? There are three theories:
- Catwoman: Exercise regulates hormones, especially estrogen and insulin, which have been linked to certain types of cancers. When the hormones are out of whack, they allow cancer to thrive. Holy hormones, Batman, your iconic deep voice tells me your estrogen levels are very low.
- The Joker (Because colon jokes are always funny): Exercise keeps food—and any carcinogens you ingest— moving through the colon. That’s right, Batman, the more often you poop, the less likely you are to get colon cancer. The more you move your body, the more you move your bowels. Holy porcelain, Batman, we’re going to need more toilet paper!
- The Penguin: Exercise decreases body fat. Body fat is “an active organ” that produces hormones which lead back to Catwoman. Body fat also makes it harder for your organs to function and for blood to flow. For example, your liver’s main job is to remove toxins; fat slows down that process and creates the kind of toxic environment The Penguin loves. If blood doesn’t flow well, strong, and often, cells don’t get as much oxygen as they need and cellular trash isn’t removed efficiently which leads to less healthy cells. Holy waddling bird themed bad guy, Batman, let’s go swim to slim!
So what came first? The Fat or the out of whack Hormones? The sluggish colon or the sluggish human? We’ll leave that to the chickens and the eggs because we know the solution: Batman the Exerciser!
Do you have to spend hours a day doing pull ups in a bat cave in order to decrease your cancer risk? Nope. One study showed you can shuffle along like the Penguin and still reap the benefits. Holy sneakers, Batman, just going for a walk can save my life! The study defined their “most active” subjects as exercising 7 hours a week and their “least active” subjects as exercising just 20 minutes a week. That’s a range as wide as Joker’s smile, but the study showed that all exercise helps reduce cancer risk: the more active the person, the lower the risk. Holy cancer prevention, Batman, let’s get moving!
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. John 1:5
National Cancer Institute, Physical Activity and Cancer, 2017
American Institute for Cancer Research, More Evidence of Exercise for Cancer Prevention, 2016