Regular exercise is good for us. But as well as contributing to overall well-being and mental positivity – exercising can actively reduce our risk of specific illnesses.
New research suggests that men who keep active could cut their risk of prostate cancer in half.
Good news. And the best news is that ‘exercise’ doesn’t even have to mean going to the gym or being yelled at by your personal trainer until you want to puke.
The experts say exercise can include gardening or walking – and it has a ‘far larger’ protective effect than previously thought.
The research team, funded by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) and Cancer Research UK, measured the physical activity among 79,148 men who have prostate cancer and 61,106 who didn’t.
They looked at variations in a person’s DNA sequence – relating to how active they are, rather than just relying on what they say about their lifestyles.
The study found that men who were the most active had a 51% reduced risk of prostate cancer, compared with those who were the least active.
‘Most of these men in this study were aged over 50 and we can assume they were not all marathon runners,’ explains study author and senior lecturer at Bristol Medical School Dr Sarah Lewis.
‘Our findings suggest that the more active you are, the better. We would recommend that men are as physically active as they can be.
‘Our evidence suggests being active will be beneficial in terms of their prostate cancer risk. But it doesn’t have to be vigorous activity or playing team sports, you just have to move about.
‘Being active could be things such as gardening, walking or other activities that you can build into your daily routine.
Dr Lewis says that although the study looked at particular genes relating to exercise, the effect of the genes themselves on prostate cancer risk was small. This suggests that it is being physically active that is leading to the huge benefits seen in reducing the risk of prostate cancer.
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