Health, Life

How Physical Activity Can Lower Your Risk of Colon Cancer

RAND Corporation

You already know that physical activity is good for your body and comes with numerous health benefits. What might surprise you is the fact that even the exercise you used to get as a teen can affect your risks of developing colon cancer.

A recent study suggests that if you were active in your adolescence, your risks of getting colon cancer may have gotten lower. The outlook is even better if you have continued engaging in daily exercise well into adulthood. This can mean that your risk may have gone down even lower.

The research was published in the British Journal of Cancer and involved 28,250 women from ages 25 to 42. It studied how health factors such as physical activity, nutrition, and hormones may have long-term effects.

The study findings included how getting at least an hour of physical activity a day from the age of 12 to 22 may reduce your risk of adenoma by seven percent as compared to those who do not get as much activity. An adenoma is a polyp in the colon or rectum that sometimes evolves into cancer. It is considered a pre-cancerous condition.

In addition, those whose physical activity started in adulthood have their risks reduced by nine percent, while those who started being active in their teens and have continued to get daily exercise reduced their risk by 24 percent.

The study concluded that the effects of the physical activity you engage in accumulate as you age. It is never too late to start getting active, as regular exercise gives you many advantages, and this includes better colorectal health.

Study co-author Leandro Rezende, D.Sc., Ph.D. (c), of the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil states that there are “several biological mechanisms” that contribute to the lowering of risks of getting colon cancer. He believes that weight management may be the most important of these, as it plays a role in insulin resistance and inflammation, which can affect the development of cancer and its progression.

He further states that other studies have revealed a link between moderate to vigorous exercise to a lower risk of developing bowel cancer. It can also lower the risk of breast and endometrium cancers.

If you have a busy schedule and have difficulty devoting big chunks of time to exercise, the good news is that even brief periods of activity can contribute to lower cancer risks.

But of course, the more exercise you get, the greater the effect on cancer prevention. This is one more good reason to fit a regular exercise routine into your schedule. It pays off not only at the present time but also in the long run.