CrossFit and Cancer
In the list of the top ten causes of premature death, cancer appears three times.
Top factors causing loss of life years due to premature death (in order):
Ischaemic heart disease
Stroke and other cerebrovascular disease
Trachea, bronchus, lung cancers
Alzheimer and other dementias
Lower respiratory infections
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Colon and rectum cancers
Hypertensive heart disease
Cancer refers to a complex number of conditions characterised by the uncontrolled proliferation and spreading of cells.
The treatments are broad, depending on the form of cancer, though exercise can be beneficial regardless of the stage of cancer, or the form of treatment.
Depending on the form of cancer, responses to exercise vary considerably. This response is unique to the tissue being affected. In this way, lung cancer will affect respiration, musculo-skeletal cancers will directly affect the area in question and neural cancers can cause motor control difficulties, seizures and other neural symptoms. Most forms of cancer will see some form of premature fatigue or lethargy.
Perhaps more influential on physical capacities are the side effects of the various treatment methodologies.
The research on the effects of exercise on cancer is currently growing at a considerable rate. Effort is being put into the investigation of exercise as a prevention for cancer. This has been suggested for several major forms, including lung, prostate, breast and colon cancers.
The biggest benefit of exercise for cancer patients though is the effect on the immune system, the ability to maintain functional abilities through treatment and an improvement of mood and quality of life. In essence, exercise increases the body’s coping resources and aids them in dealing with cancer.
Many treatments increase the risk of such conditions as coronary artery disease, hypertension, diabetes and hyperlipidemia. Exercise combats these side effects at every step.
Encourages neutral energy balance.
Improves cardiopulmonary capacity.
Faster bowel mobility.
Reduced levels of endogenous hormones.
Increased immune function.
Increased antioxidant defence.
Increased DNA repair.
Range of Motion offers Exercise Physiologist designed one-on-one exercise sessions for individuals with this condition
Dan Williams is the Director of Range of Motion. He has a Bachelor of Science (Exercise and Health Science) and a Postgraduate Bachelor of Exercise Rehabilitation Science from The University of Western Australia, with minors in Biomechanics and Sport Psychology. He has worked with many thousands of individuals along the full spectrum of health, and has coached at The CrossFit Games. He regularly presents to corporate and fitness industry groups and mentors Fitness Professionals.