/ by Alison Hammond
Written by Alison Hammond, a dietetic intern at UK Markey Cancer Center.
It is no secret that the United States has seen an increase in the average body weight of its population over the last 30 years. That weight increase has been associated with a rise in a variety of chronic diseases, including many different types of cancer.
To control weight, it’s important to learn a weight range that is healthy for your body size and stay within that window. The American Cancer Society recommends maintaining a body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9. If you’re interested in knowing your BMI, check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Adult BMI Calculator at CDC.gov.
Excess body fat is linked to inflammation and decreased immune system response, which has been linked to cancer. Because of this, the American Cancer Society recommends people maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.
One way to manage weight is through increased physical activity, which has been shown to help regain pre-treatment fitness and health in cancer survivors. The American Heart Association provides specific weekly recommendations titled “Fit in 150+”.
Fit in 150+ recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity.
Here are some ideas to increase physical activity. You’ll notice not all of them would be considered stereotypical exercise, but they’re still great for your health:
Moderate-Intensity Aerobic Activity
- Brisk walk or bike to the grocery store
- Heavy housework like mopping and washing windows
- Mowing the lawn
- Doubles tennis
- Water aerobics
Vigorous-Intensity Aerobic Activity
- Jogging & running
- Basketball, soccer, singles tennis
- Swimming laps
- Heavy shoveling
- Hiking uphill
The great thing about these exercise recommendations is that they can be achieved through a wide variety of activities. Most importantly, just get up and move! The key is to spread activity throughout the day by moving more and sitting less. Additionally, the American heart Association notes the importance of working on muscle use by including strength-training activities, not just cardio.
For additional information regarding diet and nutrition for cancer patients at UK Markey Cancer Center, please call 859-323-2798 and ask to speak with a registered dietitian.