Study Finds Exercise May Help Prevent Certain Types Of Cancer: Here’s How Much You Need To Do - Women's Health

Study Finds Exercise May Help Prevent Certain Types Of Cancer: Here’s How Much You Need To Do

It’s long been known that any amount of movement is beneficial. But when it comes to preventing certain types of cancer, research suggests there might be a sweet spot for the duration of exercise.

The human body was made to move. Anyone who has ever been bed-bound for days or weeks on end can probably attest to this. But in our increasingly health-conscious society where tonics and various elixirs are downed in the hope of staving off various illness or simply delaying the ageing process, exercise continues to be a fundamental component of the healthy. When it comes to cancer prevention, we all know the lifestyle habits we adopt have a significant impact on our health. According to a new study though, there might just be a sweet spot when it comes to exercise and cancer prevention. 

The study, published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise examined state-level data on cancer incidence and physical activity by state, in people aged 30 or older. Researchers found a strong connection between reduced cancer prevalence and more exercise, something that was particularly apparent for cancers related to breast, colon, stomach, kidney, bladder and oesophagus. 

According to the researchers, more than 46,000 cancer cases in the United States annually could be prevented if people followed the guideline of getting at least five hours of moderate-intensity activity per week. Furthermore, all cancer cases in adults between 2013 and 2016, about three per cent were attributable to physical inactivity. The incidence was also higher in women than in men. 

It’s a helpful reminder to move your body for the recommended five hours per week. If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s that health is a priority now more than ever. Of course, not every workout has to be a HIIT session or long run, but simply getting outdoors where possible and staying active can do wonders for both the mind and body. 

Still, it should be noted that exercise alone won’t eliminate your cancer risk completely as there are countless other factors that also go into the equation, such as genetics, environmental exposure, obesity, chronic inflammation, smoking, alcohol use, age, diet and hormones. But exercise has been shown to address some of these factors, particularly something like obesity and inflammation. More intense physical activity can actually increase inflammation in the short term, but research suggests it brings the level down overall, with one study even suggesting that as little as 20 minutes of exercise could kick off this effect. 

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