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Exercise may help prevent seven different types of cancer

Published Dec 28th, 2019 11:03AM EST
exercise and cancer
Image: Pius Koller/imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

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We all know we should exercise regularly. We know many of the benefits, we know the risks of being sedentary, and most of us do our best to get a bit of physical activity whenever it’s feasible. Now, a new study suggests that regular exercise might actually help to prevent seven different types of cancers.

The research, which was published in the Journal of Oncology included information from 9 cohort studies and data on 755,459 individuals ranging in age from 32 to 91 years of age. The researchers crunched the numbers, including self-reported exercise rates and instances of cancer over a period of just over 10 years, and some very interesting trends began to emerge.

The study shows that individuals who get at least the recommended amount of physical activity see decreased rates of seven different cancer types. The cancer types that saw noticeable declines included colon, breast, kidney, myeloma, liver, endometrial, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

The benefits didn’t universally lower cancer rates across the board, however, as eight of the other cancer types the researchers tracked didn’t see any significant decline in individuals who exercised regularly. Still, the results are significant, with up to 10% lower risk of breast cancer and up to 27% lower risk of liver cancer in those who exercise.

It’s also worth noting that, depending on the type of cancer, individuals saw a reduced risk with the recommended amount of exercise, while others saw benefits with exercise amounts that were significantly higher The recommended amount of exercise for an adult is roughly 2 and a half hours, at moderate intensity, per week, according to health experts in the United States.

It’s also important to note that the study can’t conclusively say that the exercise itself is what is causing a reduced rate of certain cancers. It’s possible, of course, that exercise-related improvements to a person’s health are responsible for the cancer-mitigating effects.

Whatever the case, this is just another reason to make exercise a regular part of your routine.

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