Really, it's a no-brainer.
Get off the couch and move. A little. Or a lot. You'll be helping to kick cancer to the curb.
Study after study confirms it: Besides having a multitude of other physical and mental benefits, regular exercise can significantly reduce your risk of many kinds of cancer. The National Cancer Institute has a long list
, and some eye-opening numbers:
- The most physically active adults reduced their colon cancer risk by 24 percent
- Physical activity was shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer by 12 percent
Fact is, exercise – almost any kind – changes your body in ways that make it less hospitable to cancer. Physical activity reduces inflammation, a key factor in cancer development. It also lowers levels of many hormones associated with cancer. Exercise strengthens your immune system and speeds up your digestive system, so potential carcinogens don't stay inside you too long.
And of course, exercise helps control your weight. In too many ways, obesity is cancer's best friend.
Luckily, reaping the benefits of exercise doesn't require long hours at the gym. A brisk walk outside or streaming an online workout can also be beneficial.
How much exercise do you need? Less than you think.
Most authorities recommend 150 minutes of moderate activity (like walking), or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise (cycling, for example) per week.
Do the math. It's really not that much! Here's how to get started:
Have a Home Workout Plan – The convenience of having a go-to workout that you can do in the comfort of your own home can save you time and money. With a few pieces of equipment, like a stability ball, jump rope, resistance bands, a yoga mat and dumbbells, you can do a variety of workouts that will help you get stronger, burn calories and keep your heat healthy.
Bit by Bit – Can't set aside 30 minutes at a time? You don't have to. Break your exercise up into 10- or 15-minute segments. You'll still reap the benefits.
Go Long – Think of exercise as a permanent part of your new, healthier life rather than a short-term fix. Get into a regular routine that defines you as an active person, today, tomorrow, forever! And don't worry about age. It's never too late to start!
All Exercise is Good – 45 minutes on the treadmill ... a walk at lunchtime ... a fun class ... dancing ... vigorous yard work ... team sports ... it's all good! Anything that gets you moving is worthwhile.
Whatever Shape You're in – Research shows that exercise benefits everybody, no matter your current condition. Overweight people, for example, who exercised at an intermediate level for 30 minutes to three hours per week reduced their risk of cancer death by 48 percent.