If you need a reason to get up and get moving, consider this: Your likelihood of developing seven types of cancer may be reduced by physical activity, according to new research from the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and other organizations.
The seven cancers are breast, colon, endometrial, kidney, liver, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Based on data from 755,450 adults who were tracked for 10 years, the researchers concluded that the odds of developing these cancers decline as physical activity increases. For instance, the risk for colon cancer among men fell 8 percent with 2½ to 5 hours a week of moderate physical activity (the amount suggested for most adults in the latest physical activity guidelines). But it dropped by 14 percent with vigorous activity of 1¼ to 2½ hours a week.
Women's risk for breast cancer declined 6 percent with moderate activity and 10 percent with vigorous activity. Risk reductions were greater for the other cancers: endometrial, down 10 percent (with moderate activity) to 18 percent (vigorous activity); kidney, down 11 to 17 percent; multiple myeloma, down 14 to 19 percent; liver, down 18 to 27 percent; and non-Hodgkin lymphoma in women, down 11 to 18 percent.
Moderate-intensity activity involves moving fast enough or strenuously enough to burn three to six times more energy than if you were sitting still, while vigorous intensity activity burns more than six times as much energy. Examples of moderate-intensity activity include brisk walking, water aerobics, ballroom dancing and general gardening. Activities that qualify as vigorous intensity include running, swimming laps, aerobic dancing and bicycling at 10 mph or faster.
The potential reduction in cancer risk found by the new research adds to other health benefits already linked to being physically active: a healthier heart, blood pressure improvements, better sleep, more energy, weight loss and an improved mood.