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Exercise: How Much is Enough?

Sarah Giovagnoli | Shaw Regional Cancer Center

Based on several recent large-scale studies exercise has emerged as a strong protective factor both for incidence and progression cancer in the prostate and breast. A landmark study in 2011 that followed 2700 men found that those who reported at least three hours/week of vigorous activity had a 61% lower risk of dying from prostate cancer than those who exercised less than one hour/week. All exercise is good exercise with recreational and leisure activity showing a decrease in mortality. But a proportionately decreased risk was seen when the intensity of exercise increased. 

Similarly research with breast cancer populations has consistently shown cancer risk is reduced with exercise. Across 73 studies the average risk reduction is 25-30% for the highest versus lowest activity groups.

The American Cancer Society now recommends 60 minutes of moderate or 30 minutes of vigorous exercise every day. But what is meant by “vigorous?" This is defined by any exercise that elevates your heart rate to approximately 70-90% of maximal heart rate (to figure maximal heart rate subtract your age from 220) or simply elevates your breathing to a level where holding a normal conversation is not possible. So for the longest healthiest life get moving and make the most of our workouts!

Recent Results Cancer Research 2011 186: 13-42
Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2011 29: 726-732