Thursday, August 20, 2009

Does Exercise Reduce Cancer Risk?

We all know that exercise is good for us. It keeps us fit and our body healthy. What else is new? Based on a new finding, exercise can reduce our cancer risk.

According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, Finnish researchers recently concluded that, if you wish to ward off lung or gastrointestinal cancer, you might want to spend your leisure time jogging instead of picking berries, mushroom gathering or fishing.

The study found that the more arduous the exercise was, the more protective it proved for the 2,560 middle-aged Finns studied. The health of these subjects, all men, was studied over the course of about 17 years. They kept diaries of their daily activities for a year. Jogging was the most strenuous activity studied, fishing among the least. The men who jogged or otherwise exercised fairly intensely for at least 30 minutes a day had “a 50 percent reduction in the risk of dying prematurely from cancer.

Results of other findings include:

The most active people are 24 percent less likely to develop colon cancer than sedentary people are, regardless of their diets, smoking habits or body weight.

Women over age 30 who defined themselves as “highly competitive” by disposition and who exercised more than the average for the group had much less risk of developing breast cancer than women who worked out for less than 60 minutes per week.

In order to use exercise to reduce the risk of cancer, you must make yourself sweat. In the Finnish study, the most beneficial exercise was both frequent and demanding.

If you are not that hardworking when it comes to exercising, at least moderately intense physical activity is more beneficial than low intensity physical activity in the prevention of cancer. The takeaway, in other words, is that jogging trumps berry picking.

How many of you hit the gym a few times a week or go jogging or engage in other active sports? Good for you.

Source: NY Times


  1. No wonder those people in Guilin look slim and healthy! They walk a lot and do farming and lots of exercise unlike us!

    I think exercise is important because it can help your body detox, which reduce the amount of toxins in the body, which is the main cause of most cancers.

    But I heard that over-exercise is bad as it leads to production of free radicals in the body.

    I guess balance is what we need, meaning balance of exercise, good nutrition, healthy eating, having enough rest and sleep and taking supplements. Also always feel happy and being stress free helps a lot in reducing chances of getting cancer.

  2. More reasons to exercise right? :D

  3. There is a BUT, Happysurfer. I was told by my in-house doc that it might be able to reduce cancer risk but heart attack can still strike. Doesn't matter how healthy a person is, when the heart fails ... well, it fails.

  4. i used to hit the gym quite often and feel fresh and healthy.. but now have greatly reduced the frequency, and frankly i do feel the difference..

  5. And a restricted calorie diet adds years to one's life. So eat less, exercise more.

  6. The problem is we are too busy to make money >.<

  7. Ironically, I also read exercise produce free radicals (since breathing more relates to more oxygen). And free radicals cause degenerative diseases like cancer.

    I exercise, but I make it a point to couple it with fruit and vegetables everyday.

  8. Foong, with China opening up its country to foreign influence will see a new lifestyle creeping in. Fastfoods and technology will see more and more young people leading sedentary lives and putting on weight.

    Over-exercising leads to production of free radicals? Good to know. Like you said, everything in moderation.

    Tekkaus, more reason to exercise, definitely.

  9. Ai Shiang, true. Lots of causes for death.

    SK, I'm sure there is. Why the change in frequency? What I find about going to the gym is that you need to have company to stay motivated enought, and secondly, if the gym is too far away from work or home, the interest level tapers off. No?

  10. PandaB, this is without a doubt. Eat more white meat instead of red meat and more greens. I'm thinking bicycling too..

    KS, money, money, money, always sunny in a rich man's world..

  11. Shingo, exactly what Foong commented. The report I read says that all that panting from exercising might rapidly move carcinogens out of the lungs thus lowering the chance of lung cancer.

    Exercise long has been known to speed the emptying of the colon, which may reduce the amount of time that carcinogens linger in the organ which could lower the risk of colon cancer.

    Daily intake of fruits and vegetables is a good practice, Shingo.