A new study might provide an extra nudge to get off the couch after the holidays: Researchers found that regular exercise reduces the risk of seven cancers, reports NBC News. The study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology suggests that people who follow general exercise guidelines of 2.5 to 5 hours a week of moderate activity (brisk walking, for example) or 1.25 to 2.5 hours of more vigorous activity (swimming, jogging, etc.) might decrease their chances of getting the seven cancers—colon, breast, kidney, myeloma, liver, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and endometrial, reports CNN. The possible benefits varied, from a 6% to 10% lower risk of breast cancer to an 18% to 27% lower risk of liver cancer. The research analyzed data from studies involving more than 750,000 men and women in the US, Australia, and Europe over a decade.
Exercise guidelines "have largely been based on their impact on chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes," says Alpa Patel, senior scientific director of epidemiology research at the American Cancer Society. But "these data provide strong support that these recommended levels are important to cancer prevention, as well." Coverage notes that the research was observational, meaning it does not prove a cause-and-effect between exercise and a lower cancer risk. Still, Forbes finds it interesting that the study suggests a correlation between the amount of exercise and lower risk. For example, men who complete 7.5 MET hours (metabolic equivalents) of exercise per week saw an 8% lower risk of colon cancer, compared with a 14% lower risk for those who did 15 MET hours a week. (Read more exercise stories.)