Five Facts About Exercise and Cancer

Woman exercises to prevent cancer.

Regular exercise can do a lot to improve your physical and mental health and your quality of life. It will make you stronger, slow down muscle and bone loss, lower your blood pressure, improve your mood, and improve your flexibility.

There’s also plenty of medical evidence that exercise can help reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer and improve the survival rates of people diagnosed with cancer. Here are five facts you’ll want to know about:

  1. Increased physical activity can reduce the risk of colon cancer by 24 percent in both men and women.
  2. Inactive women have a greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who exercise. The average risk reduction in active women is 12 percent.
  3. Women with breast cancer who exercised at least one hour a week were 35 percent to 40 percent less likely to die from the disease than women who didn’t exercise at all.
  4. Vigorously exercising three times a week can reduce the risk of death by prostate cancer by 61 percent in men with non-metastatic prostate cancer.
  5. The risk of endometrial cancer is cut by 20 percent in women who exercise, as compared to women who are sedentary.

The research on how much exercise you need to do each week to reap the cancer-reduction benefits varies from study to study but following the exercise guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control is a great place to start.

Adults doing at least two-and-half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week can expect substantial health benefits. Increasing that aerobic activity to five hours a week can expect “extensive health benefits”, according to the guidelines. Your workout should also include moderate-to-high intensity strength training involving all major muscle group on two or more days a week. Older adults with chronic conditions should be as physically active as their conditions allow. As always, check with your physician before starting a workout program. has more on getting started on an exercise program. You can read more about how weight training can reverse the downward spiral of aging in Choosing the StrongPath, co-authored by the StrongPath founder Fred Bartlit. And listen to Fred’s interview with Dr. David Crawford and the report on his panel discussion at the Shaw Cancer Center’s Vail Symposium.






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