A new study, conducted by Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute, has suggested that men who engage in moderate physical exercise in a regular basis have a reduced risk of developing and subsequently dying from cancer.
The study was published this month in the British Journal of Cancer and involved the study of 40,708 Swedish men aged between 45 and 79 who were questioned on their exercise habits. The men were followed from 1998 to 2004 and over this time 3714 men (9.1%%) developed cancer and 1153 men (2.83%) died from the disease.
The researchers found that a one hour per day increase in physical activity was associated with a 2% decrease in the incidence of cancer and a 12% decrease in the risk of dying from cancer. Men who exercised regularly also had greater cancer survival rates than those who did little or no exercise.
Walking and cycling appeared to be particularly beneficial in cancer reduction. Those who spent an average of 30 minutes a day walking or cycling were 34% less likely to develop cancer and had 33% improved cancer survival rates compared to those who rarely walked or cycled.
The researchers also found that even relatively light activities such as doing household chores were beneficial in reducing the risk of developing or dying from cancer.
Diet was not considered in this study however it is likely that those men who exercised regularly made healthier dietary choices than the sedentary men and it is therefore possible that the results were due to healthier food choices made by the physically active men rather than the exercise itself.
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