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Too Much Isn't Better
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"Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it" (Genesis 2:15).

I love gardening, but it’s hard work. I think that’s why God placed Adam and Eve in a garden and told them to take care of it. He knew humans need exercise. The evidence is mounting: Exercise reduces the risk of cancer. In 11 studies relating exercise to breast cancer approximately half showed a protective effect of exercise. One study even showed that 12-year-old girls who exercised had less breast cancer later in life than those who didn’t.

In a longitudinal study of more than 17,000 Harvard alumni, researchers found that those who were overweight in young adulthood and middle-age had a higher risk of colon-cancer—unless they were physically active. They also found that those who were most active had considerably less lung cancer after smoking. Researchers concluded that exercise boosts the immune system.

In the Nurses’ Health Study of approximately 86,000 nurses, exercise reduced the risk of colon cancer by almost half. The more time spent sitting, the higher risk for colo/rectal cancer.

Overweight Associated with Cancer

Why is it that exercise helps reduce cancer risk? It usually prevents overweight—and being overweight is associated with cancer. It improves the body’s response to insulin. Those who exercise tend to eat more fruits and vegetables. It helps in moving the food through the intestines more quickly, giving carcinogens less time to act. And exercise reduces estrogen production, which is related to breast cancer.

But just like most good things, too much is not necessarily better. David Nieman, while at Loma Linda University, showed that brisk walking for 45 minutes five times a week for 15 weeks boosted the activity of natural killer cells that help to knock out viruses and malignancies in the body’s cells. The walkers had as many colds and flu episodes but those didn’t last as long.

However, the natural killer cell activity was lessened 25 to 46 percent by running for three hours, and this effect lasted for 21 hours. In the 1987 Los Angeles Marathon, 13 percent of the runners came down with colds or the flu within a week after the race, compared to only 2 percent who trained for the race but didn’t race.

Thank You, God, for letting me learn what’s good for me. Now give me the willpower to get up and get the exercise I need to keep healthy. Amen.

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By John A. Scharffenberg. Excerpted from Fit Forever, compiled by Kay Kuzma, copyright © 2005 by Review & Herald Publishing. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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