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A Brisk Walk For 20 Minutes a Day Can Reduce Risk of Seven Cancers

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A Brisk Walk For 20 Minutes a Day Can Reduce Risk of Seven Cancers

2019-12-29 17:42:051 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Chanel Adams  Image source: Peter van der Sluijs

Do you hate exercise? Do you have a hard time sticking to your new year’s resolution? If you answered “yes” to either of these questions, you’ll love this new study. Even the smallest increase in physical activity can make a big difference when it comes to your health. Diet and exercise resolutions always top the list, but up to 80% of new year’s resolutions in regard to health, including exercising more, are often forgotten about by February, according to a study by Stanford University.

However, a new study revealed that people who only do two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise a week can reduce their risk of getting seven types of cancer. That includes walking briskly 20 minutes a day or a non-strenuous bike ride. This type of exercise is found to lower one’s risk of liver cancer by up to 18% in both men and women. It increased 27% for those who do five hours of moderate exercise for five hours. In addition, kidney cancer in both men and women is decreased by 11% for two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise, or 17% for five hours of moderate exercise.

According to the report published on Daily Mail, the study suggests that the reason why moderate exercise reduces one’s cancer risk because it aids with weight loss. The researchers studied 755,549 people for the entire decade. According to Dr. Alpa Patel, the co-author of the study from the American Cancer Society: “The exciting thing about these results is that they demonstrate engaging in a short amount of regular moderate-intensity activity, like a brisk walk, can provide tremendous benefits for the risk of getting various types of cancer. That is good news for the many people who, when they hear they should exercise more for their health or cancer prevention, think that means something drastic like having to start training for a marathon.”

The NHS also recommends that people should strive for two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise each week, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. This study comes after another report revealed that it could take up to 16 minutes to burn off 170 calories from a bag of chips or cookies. Health experts are exploring the idea of labeling foods with “exercise calories,” or include the required amount of physical activity needed to burn off those calories on snack foods. If a chocolate bar says it contains 230 calories, then one would have to do 42 minutes of walking or 22 minutes of running to burn off those calories.

While most people don’t pay attention to nutrition labels, exercise calories could be motivating, according to Amanda Daley, professor of behavioral medicine at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom.

“They may still ignore it, but let’s give it a go,” Daley told “Let’s at least give them a chance to be able to easily understand.”  

Not everyone is on board with this new concept though. Some people on social media exclaimed that calorie labels could reinforce negative attitudes towards diet and exercise. Others think it could lead to body image issues and eating disorders. Yoni Freedhoff, an obesity expert at the University of Ottawa, fears that these calorie labels could leave a negative impact on individuals.

“The idea that exercise is a punishment for eating does not strike me as a good way to promote exercise or healthy attitudes around food,” he said.

Instead of using labels to motivate people to exercise more, Freedhoff said it would be better to encourage people to make healthier choices. Of course, physical activity is good for you. But it’s not enough to stay fit and healthy. Less than half of American adults aren’t as active as they should be. The key to motivate yourself to exercise is to see physical activity differently. If you want to live a healthier lifestyle, you should be more active.

You don’t even have to join a gym or buy new equipment to make it happen. You can reap the benefits of physical activity as soon as you get started walking in your neighborhood. As the study by the American Cancer Society revealed, just a small amount of physical activity can make a difference to your health. The great thing about brisk walking is that it’s free and can be done anywhere. You can walk around your neighborhood, your house, your office, or at your shopping mall. A 22-minute brisk walk every day, or even two 11-minute walks, can take you over 150 minutes each week. 

As you take on this challenge to become healthier in the new year, understand that it won’t be easy, and setbacks will happen. Don’t let one slip-back prevent you from achieving your goal. Have a backup plan in case inclement weather or unexpected events happen. And, don’t forget to celebrate the little victories that you made toward reaching your goal.

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