Second Annual Redstone Volksmarch

Hundreds of Redstone families participated in the 2nd Annual Redstone Volksmarch at Vincent Park Saturday, Aug. 24, 2019 on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala. “Volksmarch,” or “People’s Walk,” has its origins after the end of World War II. Volksmarches became very popular with the American military that were stationed in Germany at that time. Veterans returning to the United States wanted to continue these walks and the tradition continues today on Redstone Arsenal. (Eric Schultz / Redstone Rocket)

It is common knowledge that healthy living can reduce the chance of a cancer diagnosis.

But we can all point to anecdata that seems to disprove this. Lance Armstrong, possibly the most famous professional cyclist in history, is a testicular cancer survivor. Former Rocket assistant editor Amy Tolson proudly walked with her family recently in the St. Jude fundraiser in Huntsville. Sometimes healthy adults get sick. Sometimes kids do too.

My point is not that nothing matters, let me eat my double cheeseburger in peace. The point is that the steps you can take to lower your risk of cancer are also the same that will help you fight it, if the worst comes to pass. I know I want to be in tip-top fighting form if or when that day comes. That might mean still eat the burger (because burgers are delicious) but hold the cheese and then take an extra-long walk with my dog – 10,000 steps a day still counts if you are moving at basset hound speed. We can use those small steps to walk toward a healthier version of ourselves, while still enjoying life.

While healthy living can include many things, the American Cancer Society has broken it down to specifics:

Exercise:

According to the American Cancer Society: “Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity (equal to a brisk walk) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (makes your heartbeat and breathing faster, and makes you sweat) each week, preferably spread throughout the week. Kids should get at least 1 hour of moderate- or vigorous-intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity at least 3 days a week.”

Easier said than done with our busy lives today. Luckily for Team Redstone, a variety of activities and areas are accessible to help you meet these goals. Check out one of the multiple fitness centers on post. Join a Team Redstone sports league – softball, basketball and volleyball all are available. If you are more of a solo exercising type, check out the Aquatic Center or spend a lunch break on one of the walking trails on post. Having a multitude of physical activities available is part of what makes Redstone Arsenal a unique place to work.

Be intentional with diet and alcohol:

Which means two and a half cups of vegetables and fruits each day, less red meat (don’t say goodbye to the double cheeseburger forever but maybe save it for a special occasion) and less processed meat, such as bacon, sausage, luncheon meats, and hot dogs. Try breads, pastas, and cereals made from whole grains instead of refined grains, and brown rice instead of white. And unfortunately, although Halloween candy is starting to show up in the stores, limit the sweets. It is also recommended that men should have no more than two drinks a day and women no more than one.

No smoking – or vaping:

Although smoking has declined from 20.9% in 2005 to 14.0% in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five deaths today are still attributed to cigarette smoking. What is also concerning is the growing e-cigarette trend, especially among youth. E-cigarettes contain nicotine that can harm adolescent brain development and also include cancer-causing agents.

Follow cancer screening recommendations:

It’s easy to put these off, who wants to go to the doctor (and pay the co-pay) when they feel fine? Regular screening tests can catch some cancers early or even prevent cancer from developing in the first place. Discussions about tests for breast, cervical, colon, lung, and prostate cancer should be part of a yearly physical which leads to the next question: when was your last yearly physical?

Maintain a healthy weight:

Contrary to popular belief, a healthy weight does not equal “skinny.” Determining what is healthy for your age and body type is an individual conversation between you and your health provider, not what fitness fad is popular on Instagram.

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