Regular exercise reduces the risk of cancer. Correspondingly, immobility and sitting can increase the risk of developing cancer. Studies show that adequate exercise, healthy nutrition and weight management can prevent at least one third of the most common cancers.
Regular exercise is the best thing you can do for yourself. Walk up the stairs and give the lift a miss, do housework, cycle, and don’t use a car. Everything, even short bouts of exercise, improves your health.
It is wiser to opt for everyday beneficial exercise than irregular visits to the gym. But from the point of view of cancer prevention, frequent, strenuous fitness training is the most effective way to reduce the risk of cancer.
Still, even physical activity does not protect against health problems if you otherwise lead a sedentary lifestyle.
What cancers can exercise prevent?
Exercise prevents bowel cancer, breast cancer, and uterine cancer.
The more exercise you take, the smaller the cancer risk. Exercise reduces the risk of cancer more effectively the more physically demanding it is. Exercise should be regular (preferably every day, at least 5 times a week), over a long period (exercising throughout your whole life) and moderate or heavy.
A minimum of seven hours of exercise a week lowers the risk of breast cancer by 25%, compared to taking the least amount of exercise. The risk of colon cancer is about 25 % lower, and according to some studies up to 40% lower, in those who engage in regular physical activity, compared to those who do not exercise.
“The more you exercise, the lower your risk of cancer.”
Adult weight gain, especially around the waist, increases the risk of developing uterine cancer. The cancer risk increases to the greater the more overweight. Strenuous or heavy exercise reduces the risk of uterine cancer, especially in obese women, by up to 40%.
Exercise also helps keep a check on your weight. By keeping your weight normal, you can further reduce the risk of breast cancer and colon cancer. In addition, maintaining normal weight may in part reduce the risk of many other cancers, such as kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer and oesophageal cancer.