I finish the first chapter of my book, The Six Keys to Optimal Health, with the following line: Although this book is not intended as a guide for curing any particular disease, people suffering from ill health can still benefit from the practices contained within.
A recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology discloses that the more healthy lifestyle habits cancer patients adopt, the better their health-related quality of life (HRQoL). In 2006, the American Cancer Society recommended that cancer patients get at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-strenuous exercise, or an hour of strenuous physical activity every week; eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables daily; and quit smoking. According to the study’s results, many cancer patients neglect to follow these recommendations–only 5 percent were meeting all three requirements, while 12.5 percent were meeting none. Those people following one or more of the recommendations not only did better in HRQoL, but had lower mortality and recurrence rates. Very nice!
I find this study particularly interesting because I’m naturally curious about the people who have the least compliance–what makes them neglect adopting healthy lifestyle habits. Of the 9,105 cancer survivors surveyed, only 15-19% were eating at least five servings of fruit and vegetables daily, while only 30-47% were getting the recommended amount of exercise. Not great, especially in light of how crucial both activities are for all people.
Maybe cancer survivors who don’t adopt healthy lifestyle habits think it’s too late for them. Or maybe they think health–and ultimately life–is not within their reach; not in their destiny. I can’t imagine it’s carelessness or laziness or self-destructive behavior. Small percentage, maybe; but not in those numbers. I really think it’s a disbelief in one’s own powerful ability to heal. This study, however, gives great evidence of our self-healing, self-regulating capabilities.
So here I say to everybody–cancer survivors and all–you can reach your full potential of health by practicing the six key habits outlined in my book. Research proves everyday how powerful the human body is, and since everybody and everything in your life is connected to your physical being, then you may as well do the things that keep you functioning optimally. Beating cancer is like being given a second chance. Take advantage of it. Give your body what it needs and it’ll repay you multiplied.