July 01, 2020

Moderate activity lowers risk of 7 cancers

Many people don't follow U.S. activity guidelines that call for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week.

But here's some extra motivation to give it a try: A new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that, compared with no leisure time physical activity, following these recommendations was associated with a lower risk of breast, endometrial, kidney and liver cancers, as well as multiple myeloma. There was also an associated decrease in the risk of colon cancer for men and non-Hodgkin lymphoma for women.

Just how much the risk decreased varied by cancer type. For example, following the activity guidelines was associated with a 6% to 10% lower risk of breast cancer, but an 18% to 27% lower risk of liver cancer. It was also found that for certain cancers — such as colon, endometrial and breast cancers — cancer risk reduction was greater for those who went over and above the activity recommendations.

Previous research has shown a connection between exercise and decreased risk of various types of cancer. Mayo Clinic experts say this study adds to current knowledge by showing that following U.S. activity guidelines provides a sufficient "dose" of exercise to potentially see a cancer risk reduction benefit. Furthermore, this research suggests that even a little exercise may help prevent certain cancers.

According to Department of Health and Human Services recommendations, examples of moderate aerobic activities include brisk walking, raking your yard and taking a water aerobics class. Running,...