Cancer deaths can be halved by daily mile-long walks – study
Yet another study has shown the health benefits of physical activity, with new research indicating that cancer patients can cut their risk of dying by up to half by walking just one mile a day.
Based on walking one mile daily at a moderate pace of three miles per hour, the study revealed that patients diagnosed with breast and prostate cancers could cut their risk of death by up to 40 percent, while for those with bowel cancer, doubling the distance could halve the risk of dying.
Physical activity can also reduce the impact of some debilitating side effects of cancer treatment – including anxiety, depression, fatigue, impaired mobility and weight changes – according to research by Walking for Health, a network of walking groups run by Britain’s Macmillan Cancer Support and the Ramblers.
“Today’s research highlights the very simple reality – walking can save lives,” said Ciarán Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support.
“We cannot continue to turn a blind eye to what is a very simple and obvious solution. Physical activity is a wonder drug and health care professionals must prescribe physical activity, such as walking, as a standard part of cancer recovery.”
The beneficial effect of exercise is thought to go further than just weight control, which cuts down on the amount of cancer-promoting hormones produced by body fat.
The most recent thinking holds that activity may break down oestrogen to produce “good” metabolites that lower the risk of some cancers.
The reduction in risk of death from cancer is based on research review evidence in Macmillan Cancer Support’s Move More report.
Meanwhile, Ramblers head Benedict Southworth said: “The benefits of walking are numerous. It is increasingly clear that walking even short distances regularly can make the world of difference for those recovering from and managing cancer or other serious health conditions.”
“We want to put walking at the centre of efforts to tackle physical inactivity and echo Macmillan’s call for health professionals to prescribe walking to those who are recovering from cancer or other health conditions.”
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