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Live Well: Exercise More to Cut Your Cancer Risk

March 24, 2023


Even a small amount of moderate exercise can make a big difference.
Even a small amount of moderate exercise can make a big difference.

Few words in the English language generate as much fear and anxiety as “cancer.” It is a disease we all desperately want to avoid.

The good news is that there are proven ways to reduce your risk of cancer. Exercise is one of the best.

Lowers the risk of at least 13 cancers

Research shows that regular exercise of a “moderate to vigorous intensity” lowers the risk of at least 13 different cancers, including breast, colon, lung, endometrial, liver, stomach, kidney, esophageal, and bladder. It also reduces the risk of myeloid leukemia, as well as cancers of the head and neck.

It is believed that exercise lowers the risk of cancer by controlling weight, reducing sex hormones, decreasing inflammation, and boosting the immune system. Physical activity can also improve quality of life and help to improve outcomes during cancer treatment.

You don’t have to run marathons

The more exercise you do, the better in terms of cancer prevention, but you don’t have to work out like you’re training for a marathon. In general, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise—or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise—each week.

This could be as simple as taking a 30-minute walk five days a week. Adding in some strength training is beneficial, too. Don’t take an all-or-nothing approach. What’s most important is that you’re physically active on a consistent basis.

Do all you can to prevent cancer

Exercise is just one way to lower your cancer risk. Nutrition is also important, as are regular cancer screenings.