Walking for Health - reduce the risk of cancer

March 2009

Walking for Health - reduce the risk of cancer

In recent months there has been news of two scientific studies that provide even more evidence that exercise (including walking) can help avoid cancer.

Despite being rare in men, breast cancer remains the most common cancer in the UK (45,947 new cases diagnosed in 2005). So studies such as the one reported recently by Dr Sadao Suzuki from the Department of Public Health at Nagoya City University in Japan are of great interest.

The researchers in this study looked at the effect of regular physical exercise (including walking) on the development of breast cancer. It reviewed data on over 30,000 Japanese women aged between 40 and 69 years old over a 12 year period.

The findings suggest that regular exercise (walking, swimming, gym) was linked to a 55% reduced chance of developing breast cancer. In fact, the Nagoya researchers have said "We recommend walking for one hour a day, along with additional weekly exercise, to protect against breast cancer, regardless of menopausal status or body mass index."

In a different study, researchers looked at the effects of exercise on the development of Bowel Cancer.

Bowel cancer affects over 36,500 people in the UK every year making it the third most common form of cancer.

A study carried out by Dr Kathleen Wolin from the Department of Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine has shown that active people have a 24% smaller chance of getting colon cancer compared to the less active.

The results are approximately the same for men and women and the benefits are evident even when other factors (such as diet and level of obesity) are taken into account.

Whilst the researchers in both these studies make suggestions for further work, their findings do show that being physically active is of benefit in avoiding an increasing range of illnesses.

And what better form of exercise is there than walking!

For more information see:

Walking cuts breast cancer,

Exercise cuts bowel cancer and

UK Breast Cancer incidence statistics


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