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Weekly walks and even minimal exercise have been shown to prevent over 10 types of cancer


(NaturalNews) Can something as simple as a weekly walk in the park or a Sunday bicycle ride lower the risk of more than a dozen types of cancer?

In addition to protecting your heart and reducing the risk of death from all causes, researchers at the U.S. National Cancer Institute found higher levels of physical activity to be related to a lower incidence of developing 13 types of cancer, including three of the top four leading cancers among men and women.

The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, pooled the data from 12 previous U.S. and European studies that looked at leisure-time physical activities that improve or maintain health.

"For years, we've had substantial evidence supporting a role for physical activity in three leading cancers: colon, breast, and endometrial cancers, which together account for nearly one in four cancers in the United States," Alpa V. Patel, Ph.D., a co-author from the American Cancer Society said in a press release. "This study linking physical activity to 10 additional cancers shows its impact may be even more relevant, and that physical activity has far reaching value for cancer prevention."

Leisure-time physical activity lowers cancer risk

Close to 1.5 million participants, aged between 19 and 98, were tracked for a median of 11 years. During the study period 187,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed. The investigators compared levels of physical activity with the incidence of 26 different types of cancer.

They found that leisure-time physical activity was associated with reducing the odds of developing 13 of the 26 kinds of cancer, regardless of people's body mass index or smoking habits.

"Leisure-time physical activity is known to reduce risks of heart disease and risk of death from all causes, and our study demonstrates that it is also associated with lower risks of many types of cancer," Dr. Steven Moore, of the National Cancer Institute in Maryland, noted in a press release.

"Furthermore, our results support that these associations are broadly generalizable to different populations, including people who are overweight or obese, or those with a history of smoking. Health care professionals counseling inactive adults should promote physical activity as a component of a healthy lifestyle and cancer prevention."

More is better

Leisure-time physical activities include walking, running, swimming, cleaning and other moderate- to high-intensity activities. The average level of physical activity in the study was 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. This is the same amount of time as the current recommended minimum level of physical activity for the U.S. population.

For seven types of cancer, the researchers reported a cancer risk reduction of more than 20 percent for the most active participants. On average, the researchers saw cancer rates drop significantly as activity levels increased. Only the incidence of prostate (5 percent) and malignant melanoma (27 percent) tumors appeared to increase in frequent exercisers.

According to the researchers, the dramatic rise of deadly skin cancers likely reflects the fact that people who exercise more have a higher exposure to the sun's damaging UV rays compared to those who don't exercise much.

There is no doubt that physical activity has a significant impact on the development of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. However, the authors note that their findings were based on people recalling their physical activity from many years before, which isn't always as accurate as one might think.

Furthermore, Dr. Moore said that they could not fully exclude the fact that diet and other lifestyle factors such as smoking may have affected the results.

Sources for this article include:





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