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How 45 mins of exercise every day can help ward off cancer

New research finds that the risk of developing cancer is lower among people who are physically active

300 minutes of moderate exercise every week can help ward off cancer.
300 minutes of moderate exercise every week can help ward off cancer. (Istockphoto)

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The benefits of regular exercise is well known. However, new research shows that a certain amount of moderate exercise every week can actually cut down the risk of cancer. A new study published by the American College of Sports Medicine has found that the likelihood of cancer in the US is more likely in people who lead inactive lives. The paper, Proportion Of Cancer Cases Attributable To Physical Inactivity By US State, 2013-2016, states that mild exercise of only 45 minutes a day can prevent cancer.

The researchers analysed the physical activity habits of 600,000 American women and men, as well as cancer occurence in every state. They concluded that the country could avoid over 46,000 cancer cases each year if people led more active lives. And this could be something as simple as walking 45 minutes every day.

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The connection between physical inactivity and the likelihood of developing cancer, the study finds, is a high one. Other studies in the recent past have also reached similar conclusions. A 2020 study found that daily exercise can increase the activity of certain types of immune cells—called Cytotoxic T-cells—that target cancer cells. A 2016 study, Association Of Leisure-Time Physical Activity With Risk Of 26 Types Of Cancer In 1.44 Million Adults, found that the risks of developing at least 13 types of cancer substantially drops with regular physical activity. A separate report stated that the drop in cancer incidence in active adults can be as high as 69%.

According to the new study, stomach cancer is the one most associated with physical inactivity. The researchers point out that though many active people do indeed develop cancer, the risk can still be sufficiently reduced. Ultimately, choosing to go for a long walk every day increases our odds of resisting a disease that is extremely complex. The study calls for people to devote at least 300 hours a week to moderate exercise, a goal that shouldn’t be difficult to achieve for most people. 

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Since the covid-19 pandemic hit worldwide last year, more and more people have become interested in finding ways to remain fit and active. This new research, then, comes at the right time, giving us yet another great reason to be active.

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