The American Cancer Society announced updated guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention in January 2012. Here are the highlights:
• Adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity (walking, dancing, golfing, softball) or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity (jogging or running, swimming, cross-country skiing) activity each week, or an equivalent combination, preferably spread through the week.
• Children and adolescents should engage in at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous intensity activity occurring at least 3 days each week.
• Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching television, or other forms of screen-based entertainment.
• Doing SOME physical activity above usual activities, no matter what one's level of activity, can have many health benefits.
Research has proven that physical activity may reduce the risk of several types of cancer, including cancers of the breast, colon, and endometrium, as well as advanced prostate cancer, and possibly, pancreatic cancer. How does it help? Regular physical activity helps maintain a healthy body weight and may help to prevent certain cancers via both direct and indirect effects, including regulating various hormones, insulin, and prostagladins and having various beneficial effects on the immune system.
The health benefits of physical activity in preventing cancer and other chronic diseases accumulate over the course of a lifetime. This is why it is important to adopt healthy lifestyle habits like adequate physical activity early in life.