A mile, NOT an apple a day keeps the doctor away

Earlier I mentioned about the beneficial effects of exercise not only during treatment but also to prevent illness. 

I was actually curious to know the origin of the phrase ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away’.  It turns out that it is actually a Welsh proverb, originally came in print in February 1866 edition of ‘Notes and Queries’ Magazine, a Pembrokeshire proverb- “Eat an apple on going to bed and you will keep a doctor earning his bread”. That’s scary that a doctor CANNOT earn his bread. What are people upto. Thank God some one has the wisdom to modify the proverb.!! Let me tell you that apples are not a favourite fruit in my own family. Of course they do not want to keep the doctor away and nor do they want to keep him earning his bread.  They just don’t like apples and that actually is fine with me.

 On a bit of reading, I did find that apples are healthy.  They do contain Vitamin C, Pectin which adds to the fibre, zero cholesterol and also boron and quercitin, a beneficial flavonoid.  Certainly an apple a day is not the best way to keep the disease and doctor away. 

A stunningly simple fact !!.  

Exercise is something that we are all advised and it’s also something we don’t like, including ME. But it’s the simplest way to keep away two big Cats – Cardiac and Cancer from coming anywhere near you.  Physical activity of, say, walking a mile a day, clearly reduces Cancer and Cardiac risk as shown in multiple studies. 

Exercise helps in controlling weight, improves bones, muscles and joints, reduces blood pressure by 10 mm and also risk of diabetes, apart from being a great stress-buster and certainly reduces the risk of heart disease.

What about cancer?  We know that cancer can be caused by different mechanisms, but can exercise really reduce the cancer risk?

The answer to that is YES.   NCI (National Cancer Institute) statement on physical activity and cancer risk gives exhaustive information on various cancers. In brief, colon cancers have been very well studied and the risk can be reduced by nearly 30% by reducing the BMI and having atleast 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day.  Does it mean that all those who exercise will never get cancer?  The answer is NO but certainly, it is the easiest way to reduce the risk and certainly is the best way.

 The same is true for breast cancer.   Existing evidence shows that the risk of breast cancer is substantially lowered on exercise and limiting weight gain.  There are multiple mechanisms involved like estrogenic storage in fat, immune responses etc.

It is very simple, that if you exercise you will reduce colonic cancer, breast cancer and endometrial cancer which is cancer of the uterus, all very common diseases. Not only that, it also, as I said earlier, increases the survivorship by a better compliance with treatment.

The most difficult step is to start exercising regularly and I am guilty of the same.   You keep looking for excuses to skip the daily routine of physical activity.  It just needs 20 minutes, a brisk walk, a treadmill or stationary bike.  I know that we do not have green spaces and parks to walk around but you certainly could have a little space for a treadmill or stationary bike. 

 ‘If you can manage 30 minutes every day for 5 days a week’, you are a winner.  Let me tell you the positive benefits are so many, on your joints, on your overall personality that when I do my treadmill for 30 minutes, I have the energy to go through my surgeries the whole day and that I think is the single most benefit, whatever are the other benefits are the additional benefits for me. 

Come on guys,  wake up and walk up.  Walking up, infact, is the simplest way to exercise.  I thought I will talk to you later on simple programme of ‘STEP UP’, which is so remarkably simple that anyone can follow it.  I will highlight on this and the positive benefits of this in my next write-up. Meanwhile, definitely go through National Cancer Institute information if you want detailed information on the physical activity and cancer risk. 

So walk a mile and of course you can also have an apple and certainly keep the doctor away from you.  Don’t wait for tomorrow, START TODAY.





2 thoughts on “A mile, NOT an apple a day keeps the doctor away

  1. The apple & the mile, both guaranteed to keep the doctor away. Good read! Eating the apple is easy, doing the mile is hard. My sincerest efforts in that direction has resulted so far in reducing my breath than BMI! Shall keep trying. Talking of foods, is milk and cheese good for cancer diet? Conflicting reports on that.

  2. I enjoyed reading this post.You have brought out the benefits of walking in a very subtle and interesting way.Such write up from an eminent cancer surgeon like you is really effective and will motivate many to shake off from their slumber early in the morning and walk a mile!

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