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Exercise May Lower Risk of UTIs and Other Infections

Regular exercise, even at low levels, may be protective against urinary tract infections and other bacterial infections, Health.com reports. The findings come from a study of 19,000 Danes who were monitored for respiratory tract infections such as sinusitis and pneumonia. While they couldn’t prove that exercise plays a direct role in infection-fighting, the study did show that those who got regular exercise were less likely to need antibiotics, the researchers said.

This is exciting, especially on the heels of other research we learned about this summer, that shows exercise can lower your risk of about a dozen cancers including breast, lung and bowel, by 20 to 55 percent. When I first read about the exercise and cancer connection nearly 30 years ago, I had no idea what the mechanism was. But today we know that exercise can decrease cancer risk by affecting mitochondrial function, as well as helping to lower your blood sugar and insulin levels, altering T cells and trigger adrenaline-dependent killer cells.

Ideally, exercise would be used as a precise tool. I view it as a "drug" that needs to be carefully prescribed to achieve maximum benefit. Two large-scale studies that have helped shed some light on the situation looked for the "Goldilocks zone" in which exercise produces the greatest benefit for longevity in general. (Considering cancer is a top killer, maximizing longevity means you reduce your risk of all disease, including cancer.)

And the sooner you start exercising, even on a small scale, the better: It’s never too late to begin.
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