The Surprising 5-Minute Daily Habit That Lowers Your Cancer Risk

Researchers have discovered a quick and easy way to reduce the risk of cancer, and it doesn’t require being physically active! Eating a varied and balanced diet, not smoking, and avoiding a sedentary lifestyle are well-known recommendations for cancer prevention. However, it can be challenging to find easy and quick tips to put into action, especially when it comes to exercising. Lack of motivation and time constraints often make it difficult to incorporate exercise into our daily routines. A study published in the journal JAMA Oncology in the summer of 2023 may be of interest.

The study focused on individuals who reported never exercising. Surprisingly, the results suggest that it may not be necessary to “exercise” per se, but rather to increase the intensity of certain daily habits. Vigorous physical activity refers to efforts that increase our heart rate and make us breathe harder, such as climbing stairs quickly, running to catch a bus or subway, or brisk walking. “Adults who do not engage in exercise are at an increased risk of developing certain cancers,” according to the study’s authors. They wanted to delve deeper and investigate whether a few minutes of intense exercise could also reduce this risk. The researchers analyzed data from over 22,000 individuals registered in the UK Biobank database. These individuals reported never exercising but wore activity trackers. Artificial intelligence was then used to analyze the data and establish the link between vigorous physical activity and cancer risk.

18% Lower Risk of Developing and Dying from Cancer


According to Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, researchers have found that even just a minute of physical activity per day can reduce the risk of developing cancer. However, the ideal amount of time for reducing the risk is around 3 to 4 minutes of vigorous and intermittent physical activity in daily life, such as brisk walking or climbing stairs quickly. People who engage in at least 3 to 4 minutes of such activity, even without additional exercise, have an 18% lower chance of developing and dying from cancer compared to those who are inactive. They are also 30% less likely to develop breast, endometrial, stomach, bladder, colon, or blood cancer. The key takeaway is that increasing intensity and duration of physical activity in daily life can be a beneficial alternative to structured exercise and can reduce the long-term risk of cancer.

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