Everything we hear is to maintain healthy habits and you can decrease your risk of cancer. But, it isn’t that easy, is it? We love all those chili cheese fries and we hate the thought of all that exercise. Keeping a healthy weight is probably even harder for most of us. A study recently came out saying that doing just four things can cut your cancer risk by 20 to 40%, and cut your risk of dying from cancer by 50%.
These aren’t really surprises and the study just gives us more reasons to do them. The recommended four things are:
- Don’t Smoke! If you are a smoker, stopping now is better than never quitting at all. About 80 to 90% of lung cancer deaths could be avoided if everyone quit smoking. It’s a struggle that seems to draw you in when all your friends are smoking, but stick to it and lower your chances of cancer and/or death. This is easy for me, as I’ve never had a desire to smoke.
- This one is a lot harder for me, and probably a challenge for many people. Finding the time and push to motivation can be difficult, but get out in the garden, take your pet for a good brisk walk or use those stairs in lieu of an elevator. A study recommends a weekly minimum of either 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise. Sometimes we just don’t want to do anything but sit, but if we set it up on our daily/weekly schedule, after a while it will be a regular routine.
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. This is another no-brainer for me, as I have never had the inkling to partake of alcohol. It is said that just one drink a day can cut the risk of cardiovascular disease but might actually increase the risk of breast cancer. It seems this one is a mixed bag. Keep your alcohol in check and strictly limit the drinking to weekends only or just an occasional drink now and then.
- Keep a healthy weight. This one is a biggy and not just for me! I know a lot more people fighting this problem than those that don’t. Of course, if we can create the #2 (exercise) it might also make a huge difference in the weight issue. Watch that BMI and keep it between 18.5 and 27.5. Even a 5% drop in weight can have enormous benefits.
If it seems too overwhelming to attack all of these at the same time, so just choose one and then gradually add the others over time. But…..just start! They all play a part in keeping you healthy, so do yourself a favor and make a pact to begin today and don’t procrastinate. Remember, one at a time is bound to be more successful than trying to overwhelm yourself with all of them at once.
-Dr Fredda Branyon