How Exercise Reduces Cancer Risk

More than ever before, research is showing just how impactful and beneficial exercise is for human health. Recent studies have shown that physical activity is effective in reducing the risk of and of at least 13 different types of cancer. Exercise lowers cancer risk by promoting a healthy weight, reducing high insulin levels, balancing sex hormone levels, and by strengthening the immune system.

A study posted in JAMA Internal Medicine found that leisure-time physical activity was associated with a significantly decreased risk of several types of cancer. The three main types of cancer studied during this research trial were colon, breast, and endometrial cancers, esophageal, liver, stomach, and kidney cancer, along with myeloid leukemia, were also shown to respond to exercise. Later studies also showed that physical activity was strongly associated with a decreased risk of multiple myeloma, a cancer of the blood, as well as diseases of the head, neck, bladder, and lungs.

Fortunately, you don't have to be an athlete to reap the benefits that physical activity can provide for your health. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week. The average adult will be able to accomplish this recommendation by taking 30 minute walks on their lunch breaks, five days a week.

The study mentioned above suggests that exercise is linked with lower cancer risk, regardless of body size. Although exercise is connected to weight, many other biological processes are impacted by physical activity besides weight alone.

How To Incorporate More Physical Activity into Your Day:

1. Make physical activity part of your daily commute to work

2. Accomplish errands by walking or biking to the store when possible

3. Use a standing desk

4. Choose stairs over elevators

5. Park far away from your destination on purpose

For exercise ideas and videos, check out our fitness video archive.