Today is National Fitness Day, encouraging people to be more physically active and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
Being physically active has innumerable benefits and two recent studies have found that regular, weekly recreational physical activity may reduce the risk for, and improve survival from ovarian cancer.
The current UK guidelines suggest that people should attempt to be physically active for 150 minutes each week. This is the same as doing 30 minutes of physical activity a day, five times a week.
"Women may be overwhelmed with mixed messages about physical activity or exercise recommendations and opt to be inactive because they feel that they cannot meet the recommended amount of physical activity," said Kirsten Moysich, senior author of both studies.
However, any amount of weekly exercise can be effective, as long as it gets the heart beating a bit faster, and makes you feel slightly out of breath and sweaty!
Physical activity doesn’t just mean playing a sport, cycling, running or going to the gym. There are many other things that could be considered. These include:
- Doing the gardening
- Washing the car
- Taking a brisk walk
- Walking the dog
- Even domestic chores count!
Adopting a healthy lifestyle to maintain a healthy body weight can help reduce a woman’s risk of ovarian cancer, and physical activity contributes to this. However, the link between inactivity and a higher risk of ovarian cancer was seen in both normal-weight women and those who were overweight or obese, according to the study.
For more information about the role physical activity can play in cancer prevention visit the World CancerResearch Fund’s website.
Exercising after diagnosis
The amount of activity you are able to do will depend on what stage of treatment you are at, and your general health during this time, so don't worry about trying to meet general guidelines. Do what is best for you.
For women who have been diagnosed with ovarian cancer some gentle physical activity is advised to aid recovery and the body’s response to treatment.
Ovarian Cancer Action would advise patients with ovarian cancer to discuss what physical activity might be appropriate for them with their oncologist and CNS nurse.
Many of our Voices have found gentle exercise very helpful throughout their treatment and beyond. Read their stories here: