This year parkrun Ireland is teaming up with the National Cancer Control Programme. parkrunners are being encouraged to “Bring a Friend to parkrun” this Saturday, 3 February to raise awareness of the importance of exercise in preventing cancer.
Approximately 30-40% of cancers could be prevented by making small changes to our lifestyle. Most people are aware that smoking causes cancer. What many are not aware of, however, is that excess body weight and lack of exercise is quickly becoming the second biggest preventable cause of cancer.
Regular exercise, like taking part in parkrun, can reduce your cancer risk and, for those who have already been diagnosed with a cancer, exercise has been shown to improve their quality of life.
Regular exercise can reduce the risk of cancer by lowering the level of oestrogen in women, reducing the amount of insulin in our blood, helping to control levels of inflammation in the body, aiding us to maintain a healthy weight, as well as helping weight loss.
When there are increased levels of inflammation, insulin and certain hormones in the body, cells can grow rapidly and uncontrollably which can increase the risk of cancer.
Research has shown that the increased risk of cancer kicks in at a waist measurement of 40 inches for a man and 35inches for a woman; what is your waist measurement? Taking steps to lose inches off your waist and being physically active can reduce your cancer risk.
Áine Lyng, who is a Cancer Prevention Officer with the HSE National Cancer Control Programme, says “Partnering with the parkrun community is a great opportunity to increase awareness about the benefits of exercise in reducing cancer risk. As a parkrun participant you are doing just that – reducing your risk of cancer by regularly taking part in exercise. We are encouraging more people to get active and we would like your help. We are asking you to bring a friend to your local parkrun on 3 February for World Cancer Day, and to help spread the word about how important exercise is in staying healthy and in reducing your cancer risk.”
Stella O’Shea from Tralee parkrun was diagnosed with bowel cancer more than three years ago. “Following my cancer diagnosis, parkrun has helped me to regain the sense of normality I lost for so long after I became ill. parkrun gives me a focus each weekend where I exercise with people from all walks of life, where we are all the same when the start whistle blows, where we encourage each other along the route and where we laugh and joke at the finish. It is never a race… it’s a run, a jog, a walk and for many, a mix of all three. Tralee parkrun celebrates its third birthday on World Cancer Day this year. Wherever you are parkrunner, bring a friend along and enjoy the welcome which I am sure you will receive.”
Bring a Friend to parkrun on 3 February to raise awareness that regularly exercise reduces cancer risk. Why not tweet a picture of you and your friend using the hashtags #WorldCancerDay #loveparkrun and show your support.
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Cathy Curley came to running only a few years ago in her late sixties. She ran and walked a race with her daughter, and decided she would like to run more regularly. She turned up at Griffeen parkrun over a few Saturdays and ran and walked the course. She took a break for a few…