How to live longer: Sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise may reduce cancer risk

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Cancer is a leading cause of death in the UK and what makes it so deadly is its metastatic nature. When cells multiply and divide uncontrollably in the body, they tend to spread to different parts of the body. This proclivity to multiply and spread makes it a devastating disease.

Cancer can affect anyone at any age but you’re not merely at the mercy of it.

Ongoing research suggests a healthy lifestyle can reduce your risk of different types of cancer.

Exercise has come under the spotlight for its anti-cancer effects and numerous studies have examined the role it plays in reducing the risk.

A review published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise reviewed literature on the subject.

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The aim was to examine whether physical activity plays any role in the prevention of cancer, and, if so, to what extent.

To accomplish this, data from publishedepidemiological studies on the relation between physical activity and the risk of developing cancer were reviewed.

Epidemiology is the study of how often diseases occur in different groups of people and why.

According to the researchers, the data are “clear” in showing that physically active men and women have about a 30 to 40 percent reduction in the risk of developing colon cancer, compared with inactive persons.

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“Although the data are sparse, it appears that 30 to 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity is needed to decrease risk,” they wrote.

Moderate activity will raise your heart rate, and make you breathe faster and feel warmer.

“One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity level is if you can still talk, but not sing,” explains the NHS.

Examples of moderate intensity activities:

  • Brisk walking
  • Water aerobics
  • Riding a bike
  • Dancing
  • Doubles tennis
  • Pushing a lawn mower
  • Hiking
  • Rollerblading.

Vigorous intensity activity makes you breathe hard and fast – if you’re working at this level, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for breath.

“In general, 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity can give similar health benefits to 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity,” explains the NHS.

According to the health body, most moderate activities can become vigorous if you increase your effort.

Examples of vigorous activities:

  • Jogging or running
  • Swimming fast
  • Riding a bike fast or on hills
  • Walking up the stairs
  • Sports, like football, rugby, netball and hockey
  • Skipping rope
  • Aerobics
  • Gymnastics
  • Martial arts.

Dietary tips

In addition to exercise, eating a healthy, balanced diet can reduce your risk of developing cancer.

According to an article published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), early case-control studies indicated that higher intakes of fruit and vegetables were associated with a lower risk of several types of cancer.

Research Fund reports neither fruits nor vegetables were considered to be convincingly or probably associated with the risk of any cancer, however.

“Specific components of certain fruits and vegetables might have a protective action,” the BMJ article states.

It adds: “The risk of all cancer sites combined might be slightly lower in vegetarians and vegans than in non-vegetarians, but findings for individual cancers are inconclusive.”

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