Tip #4: Exercise often.
Regular physical activity and the maintenance of a healthy body weight, along with a healthy diet, will considerably reduce cancer risk.
World Health Organisation
Physical Activity and Cancer
Source: The website of the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov)
1. What is physical activity?
Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles; such movement results in an expenditure of energy. Physical activity is a critical component of energy balance, a term used to describe how weight, diet, and physical activity influence health, including cancer risk.
2. How is physical activity related to health?
Researchers have established that regular physical activity can improve health by:
Helping to control weight.
Maintaining healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
Reducing the risk of developing high-blood pressure and diabetes.
Promoting psychological well-being.
Reducing the risk of death from heart disease.
Reducing the risk of premature death (1).
In addition to these health benefits, researchers are learning that physical activity can also affect the risk of cancer.
There is convincing evidence that physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of cancers of the colon and breast. Several studies also have reported links between physical activity and a reduced risk of cancers of the prostate, lung, and lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer). Despite these health benefits, recent studies have shown that more than 50 percent of Americans do not engage in enough regular physical activity (2).
3. How much physical activity do adults need?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that adults “engage in moderate-intensity physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five or more days of the week,” or “engage in vigorous-intensity physical activity for at least 20 minutes on three or more days of the week” (1).
1. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1996). Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/sgr/sgr.htm.
2. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008). Preventing Obesity and Chronic Diseases Through Good Nutrition and Physical Activity. Retrieved June 26, 2009, from: http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/publications/factsheets/Prevention/obesity.htm
“Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise
will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”
NIH study finds leisure-time physical activity extends life expectancy as much as 4.5 years
Source: National Institute of Health (Press release)
Leisure-time physical activity is associated with longer life expectancy, even at relatively low levels of activity and regardless of body weight, according to a study by a team of researchers led by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), part of the National Institutes of Health. The study, which found that people who engaged in leisure-time physical activity had life expectancy gains of as much as 4.5 years, appeared Nov. 6, 2012, in PLoS Medicine.
In order to determine the number of years of life gained from leisure-time physical activity in adulthood, which translates directly to an increase in life expectancy, researchers examined data on more than 650,000 adults. These people, mostly age 40 and older, took part in one of six population-based studies that were designed to evaluate various aspects of cancer risk.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the parent agency of NIH, recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 engage in regular aerobic physical activity for 2.5 hours at moderate intensity—or 1.25 hours at vigorous intensity—each week. Moderate activities are those during which a person could talk but not sing. Vigorous activities are those during which a person could say only a few words without stopping for breath.
After accounting for other factors that could affect life expectancy, the researchers found that life expectancy was 3.4 years longer for people who reported they got the recommend level of physical activity. People who reported leisure-time physical activity at twice the recommended level gained 4.2 years of life. In general, more physical activity corresponded to longer life expectancy.
The researchers even saw benefit at low levels of activity. For example, people who said they got half of the recommended amount of physical activity still added 1.8 years to their life.
“Our findings highlight the important contribution that leisure-time physical activity in adulthood can make to longevity,” said study author Steven Moore, Ph.D., of NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, and lead author of the study. “Regular exercise extended the lives in every group that we examined in our study—normal weight, overweight, or obese.”
The researchers found that the association between physical activity and life expectancy was similar between men and women, and blacks gained more years of life expectancy than whites. The relationship between life expectancy and physical activity was stronger among those with a history of cancer or heart disease than among people with no history of cancer or heart disease.
The researchers also examined how life expectancy changed with the combination of both activity and obesity. Obesity was associated with a shorter life expectancy, but physical activity helped to mitigate some of the harm. People who were obese and inactive had a life expectancy that was between five to seven years shorter (depending on their level of obesity) than people who were normal weight and moderately active.
Physical activity has been shown to help maintain a healthy body weight, maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, promote psychological well-being, and reduce the risk of certain diseases, including some cancers.
“We must not underestimate how important physical activity is for health – even modest amounts can add years to our life,” said I-Min Lee, M.D., Sc.D., professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge, Mass., and senior author on the study.
If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?
An active lifestyle helps lower breast cancer risk
Source: Cancer Research UK
An active lifestyle such as doing housework, brisk walking and gardening helps to reduce the chance of getting breast cancer, new research shows today. The research – the largest ever looking at physical activity and breast cancer – is part of ongoing work by the European Prospective Investigation of Cancer (EPIC), a Cancer Research UK co-funded study and one of the biggest studies into the links between diet, lifestyle and cancer.
Researchers looked at over 8,000 breast cancer cases in women. They found that the group who were the most physically active were 13 per cent less likely to develop breast cancer compared with those who were physically inactive. Researchers found that women who were moderately active had an eight per cent lower chance of developing breast cancer.
Previous research has estimated that more than three per cent of breast cancers, more than five per cent of colon cancers and around four per cent of womb cancers in the UK in 2010 were linked to people doing fewer than 150 minutes of at least moderate intensity physical activity per week.
Professor Tim Key, a Cancer Research UK epidemiologist based at the University of Oxford who works on the EPIC study, said: “This large study further highlights the benefits of being active – even moderate amounts. There is also a lot of evidence that exercise reduces the risk of bowel cancer. More research is needed on other types of cancer, and to investigate the mechanisms which could explain the links.”
The government recommends we do 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity – such as brisk walking. But only 39 per cent of men and 29 per cent of women are managing this.
Sara Hiom, director of information at Cancer Research UK, said: “While maintaining a healthy bodyweight and cutting back on alcohol remain two of the best ways of reducing our risk of breast cancer, being active can clearly play a role too – but doesn’t have to cost you money or too much time.
“You don’t need to train like an Olympic athlete but the excitement of watching team GB win so many golds might have inspired some of us to spend less time on the sofa. And, as this research confirms, exercise can include anything that leaves you slightly out of breath like doing the gardening, walking the dog or housework.
“Small changes in your daily routine can make all the difference, like taking the stairs instead of the lift or walking some of the way to work, school or the shops and add up over the course of a week.”
“Keeping active could help prevent more than 3,000 cases of cancer in the UK every year. And it can have a positive effect on your health.”
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