Does exercise act as preventive medicine? Does aerobics play a role in reducing intestinal cancer and other types of cancers? Well, there is no firm evidence in this area – though, from a theoretical standpoint, this does appear to be a potential area for investigation. Regular exercise is associated with lowered cholesterol, it lowers gastric hyperacidity. And by it massaging action the intestines, aerobic exercise speeds up transit time, reducing the problems of constipation, which may be a factor in bowel cancer of the reproductive system, there is further evidence that screening and preventive techniques can greatly reduce the present risk.
No preventive cancer discussion, of course, would be complete without mention of tobacco. We’ve noted the correlation earlier between cigarette smoking and lung cancer in seven out of eight cases. We have noted the correlation between tobacco and cancer of the upper digestive tract and should add that cigarette smoking doubles the risk of bladder malignancy. But we should also note another tobacco hazard that is, unfortunately, receiving momentum that chewing tobacco and snuff.
Even if there was a great increase in interest among patients, there too few people qualified to practice good preventive medicine – or even to think in terms of preventive medicine. And, in general, medical schools aren’t doing much to correct the situation. Yes, there has been progress made in recent years. But we still have a long way to go. Despite the obvious logic of keeping people well rather than getting sick people healthy, preventive, medicine, is still in its infancy and is the Cinderella of the medical specialties.
Cardiovascular Aerobics And Preventive Medicine
Improved cardiovascular fitness through diet, exercise, weight control, and proper rest has a direct chemical effect on the brain. The increased circulatory flow to the brain makes available more oxygen and more glucose, both of which are necessary for the mind to function. A man whose oxygen supply is cut off will “black out” quickly, just as will a man whose glucose supply is lowered during insulin shock.
Conversely, someone whose circulation has improved, giving his brain more oxygen and more glucose, will more wide awake and alert, more ready to handle whatever stresses or challenges the day has in store.
Today’s psychologists, influenced by behaviorism and ideas such as “altered states of consciousness” and “self-image,” also offer views to explain why exercise has such merit. Take self-image. Of course, it’s easy to understand how that would improve in a person who changed a lot of flab to muscle through aerobic exercise, whose skin began to glow, and whose eyes began to sparkle. That person could see his or her own actual image change to one more attractive. But another benefit of a regular exercise program in this area may have nothing to do with these visible results.