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Get Moving Now for Cancer Protection Later

Get Moving Now for Cancer Protection Later

When it comes to men's health, cancer prevention and exercise may go hand-in-hand.

Gentlemen, it's time to get up and get moving. Now, we're not asking you to give up your golf game in favor of running marathons to improve your health, but according to a study, it may be worth it to start taking more walks around the block.  

Researchers at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas—whose data collection spanned 20 years—evaluated data of more than 17,000 men who were placed on a treadmill regimen as part of their yearly health checkup. The cardiovascular fitness assessment consisted of walking at various speeds on different inclines, with the men split into five groups from most to least fit.  

Researchers from the University of Vermont then used Medicare data to identify the men who developed common cancers over the next 20 to 25 years. Compared to the least fit ones in the group, the men who were most fit in their 40s, 50s and 60s had a 68 percent lower risk of lung cancer, and a 38 percent lower risk of colorectal cancer decades down the road. 

Not a triathlete? Not a problem. The study shows that even small improvements in fitness can help aid in cancer protection and lower your risk of disease.  

How does exercise reduce cancer risk exactly? The link between exercise and cancer prevention isn't conclusive, but there's science that stacks up in favor of maintaining an exercise regimen as one of the best ways to prevent cancer. Ultimately, increased physical activity helps boost immunity and helps control weight, which can decrease inflammation and further guard against cancer cell growth. 

Need help getting moving? Take a look at these easy exercises: 

  • Grab Fido and take a walk around the block. Not only is playing with your pet an easy way to incorporate physical activity into your day, but it offers benefits like stress reduction, too. 
  • Beat back the leaves with some yard duty. Thirty minutes of raking can burn nearly 200 calories. 
  • Start steppin’ through those commercials. This exercise has the potential to burn 40 calories every time the game goes to break.  
  • Instead of taking the elevator, start taking the stairs whenever you’re at work. Walking a flight of stairs is one of the easiest ways to improve cardiovascular health and build muscle mass. 

Whatever your preferred mode of workout, try and aim for roughly 20 minutes a day of moderate activity or a little over 10 minutes for more vigorous activity. 

The small steps you make now add to the giant leap you’re taking toward your future health. 

Medically reviewed in May 2018. Updated in February 2021. 

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