Being more active can lower your cancer risk

The National Cancer Institute funds research projects and interventions aimed at helping people reduce their risk of cancer. Increasing physical activity, changing poor eating habits and staying at a healthy weight all help.

The National Cancer Institute funds research projects and interventions aimed at helping people reduce their risk of cancer. Increasing physical activity, changing poor eating habits and staying at a healthy weight all help. Colorectal cancer is one of the most extensively researched cancers in relation to physical activity.

Many studies have consistently found that adults who increase their physical activity in one of three ways — intensity, duration or frequency — can reduce their risk of developing colon cancer by 30 to 40 percent no matter what their body mass index is. The greatest risk reduction was seen among those who are most active.

Here are a few tips for increasing your physical activity.

To increase intensity (work out harder):

  • Racewalking or aerobic walking (5 mph or faster)
  • Wheeling your own wheelchair
  • Walking briskly uphill
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Square dancing energetically to fast-paced music
  • Swimming laps
  • Doing jumping jacks
  • Jumping rope
  • Heavy gardening, such as shoveling
  • Pushing a nonmotorized lawn mower

To increase duration (work out longer):

  • Walk your dog farther than you normally would
  • Take a hike in nature and choose the longer trail
  • Walk the entire golf course instead of riding in a cart and carry your own clubs
  • Increase the number of laps you swim, gradually adding one per week
  • Add an additional set of weightlifting, rowing or cycling to your routine
  • Gradually increase time spent on an arm cycle

To increase frequency (work out more often):

  • Start or add a day of aerobic exercise to your current routine
  • Use the stairs instead of an elevator Monday through Friday
  • Take a walk at lunch every day
  • Sweep your kitchen or porch every day
  • Wash your car by hand every week

Check with your health care provider before starting a new exercise program.

-From Norton Neuroscience Institute


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