Sun. Apr 14th, 2024
  • Research suggests that doing vigorous daily tasks could reduce the risk of cancer.
  • Walking briskly and climbing stairs count as vigorous activity, according to the authors.
  • However, these daily tasks shouldn’t replace regular exercise, they said.

Doing up to 4 ½ minutes of vigorous activity in your daily life has been linked to a lower risk of cancer in a study.

Vigorous activities are things that make you a bit out of breath, like climbing stairs, walking fast, playing with children, and carrying children or heavy shopping bags, the co-authors of the study published in JAMA Oncology on July 27 wrote in The Conversation.

Researchers analyzed data on 22,398 people from an existing UK database, including on daily activity from wearable devices worn for a week. The participants had never had cancer and didn’t regularly exercise, meaning that they didn’t work out in their leisure time and didn’t go on recreational walks. The team tracked their health over a seven-year-period. 

They found that a daily minimum of 3 ½ minutes of vigorous physical activity in bursts of around a minute was linked to an 18% reduced risk of cancer, while activity at up to 4 ½ minutes a day was linked to to a 32% reduced risk of certain cancers related to physical activity.

Vigorous activities are the HIIT workouts of daily life

The authors wrote in The Conversation that 4 ½ minutes of vigorous activity is very small compared to the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But co-author Emmanuel Stamatakis, professor of physical activity, lifestyle, and population health at the University of Sydney, said in a press release that while the link between vigorous activity and a lower risk of cancer needs to be investigated in robust trials, it appears to be beneficial and cost-free for people who find structured exercise difficult or unappealing.

Stamatakis said most middle-aged adults don’t exercise regularly, which puts them at risk for breast, endometrial, and colon cancer. 

Doing intermittent bits of vigorous exercise in your day is “a bit like applying the principles of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to your everyday life,” he said. 

Earlier trials suggested that vigorous daily activities have the potential to improve cardio-respiratory fitness and how the body processes insulin, as well as reduce inflammation, which may explain the link to a lower cancer risk, the authors said according to a press release. 

Linda S. Lindström, associate professor of cancer epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, who was not involved in the study, said in an editorial accompanying it that while most people would benefit from doing regular exercise, this study shows that any physical activity is better than none.

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By admin