Is It Really Possible to Fight Cancer with Exercise?

by Matt Weik

On the list of many health problems, cancer ranks pretty high. has published research that in 2021, around 1.9 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the United States. Additionally, there were approximately 608,570 deaths in the same year due to cancer. Considering that cancer is a disease that affects everyone in different ways, there is no silver bullet to fight cancer.

That said, there are a few things that you can do to prevent yourself from getting cancer or help your body fight the symptoms of this horrible disease. What’s one of the biggest things you can start doing today to help fight cancer? Exercise.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one million people die from cancer each year. However, according to Harvard Health Publications, at least one-third of cancer deaths could have been prevented by physical activity.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It does not treat or diagnose any condition, illness, or disease. Nor does this article supersede any medical advice you’ve gotten from a medical professional. You should always consult with your family doctor before engaging in an exercise program to ensure you are healthy enough to engage in such activity.

Exercise Benefits to Help Fight Cancer

Exercise can be quite a powerful weapon to fight cancer. Yet, people always find an excuse for why they can’t exercise. It’s because they think it’s too hard, don’t have time, do not have the energy, or don’t the fact that it takes mental and physical strength to get through a grueling workout.

The fact is exercise has many health benefits that you should be paying attention to. Some of these benefits include:

  • Helping to control blood sugar levels as well as blood pressure
  • Improving heart health and muscle strength
  • Helping to prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  • Allowing you to be fit and remain flexible

There are also some benefits of exercise when it comes specifically to fighting cancer, such as:

  • Growth factors that stimulate cell growth are released during a workout
  • It strengthens your immune system
  • It can make you feel good about yourself
  • It releases endorphins that block pain receptors in the brain
  • Losing weight can help patients recover faster after a surgery

Exercises That Can Potentially Fight Cancer

Cancer is one of the biggest killers in the US, but you can do some simple things to reduce your risk. One of these is to engage in regular exercise. It is recommended that you fit in a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise each week.

Exercising isn’t just about losing weight or feeling good about the way you look — there’s a solid amount of research that shows exercise can help fight cancer.

Below are some forms of exercise and what they do for your body.

1.      Strength Training

This type of exercise helps build lean muscle mass, which has been shown to increase your metabolism and allow you to burn more calories throughout the day, even when you are asleep. Increased muscle mass also helps make you stronger and healthier overall.

In addition, strength training creates tiny tears in your muscle fibers, allowing your body to repair those fibers and build new tissue — making them stronger than before. This process also releases growth hormone, which can help fight cancer.

2.      Toning Exercises

Toning exercises help build and maintain muscles so that you look better and are healthier overall, and some studies suggest that they may lower the risk of certain cancers as well.

3.      Cardiovascular Exercises

Cardiovascular exercises, such as jogging, walking briskly, cycling, and swimming, are great ways to improve heart health. They can also help fight cancer by improving blood flow to the body’s organs and tissues (especially important for reducing the risk of lymphatic cancers).

Here are some suggestions for an exercise program to fight cancer:

  • Talk to your doctor before starting a new workout program, especially if you have a history of heart disease or other conditions.
  • Don’t neglect cardio. Aerobic activity increases blood flow and lymph flow, which helps eliminate waste products and decrease swelling in the body following surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment.
  • Consult your doctor about an appropriate amount of exercise, depending on your recovery status and overall health. Most people should be able to start slowly and gradually increase their intensity level and endurance as they recover from treatment.
  • Begin exercising within a few days after treatment ends to reduce the risk of complications arising from immobility.

Exercise can be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Even if you currently have or had cancer, by engaging in an exercise program, you can help strengthen your immune system and reduce and improve your overall health.

Those who have cancer may find that the benefits of exercising will support their strength and energy levels to allow them to live a healthier life with less overall pain.

Additional reading you may find interesting surrounding exercise and how it can help fight cancer:

Exercise Helps Those with Advanced Cancer

Is Exercise the Best Way to Keep Breast Cancer from Coming Back?

Cancer Risk Increases with Your Weight

Exercise Giving Cancer the Middle Finger