The Easy Thing You Should Do Once a Week to Lower Your Risk of Cancer

Let's face it, our lives our busier now than ever. We jump from one thing to the next, all while staying connected on multiple devices at once and hardly taking a second to breathe. According to health professionals, "I'm too busy" is the most common excuse people give when asked why they don't exercise. I believe it, as I unfortunately often fall in that category, too. But with all of the advanced studies and technologies that point to the direct effects of exercise on good health and reduced risk of life-threatening diseases, there should be no excuses. This recent study is one more reason why.

Scientists at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) conducted a study, recently published in the Journal of Lower Genital Tract Disease, revealing that even just 30 minutes of exercise per week has the potential to significantly reduce a woman's risk of developing cervical cancer. 

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"To our knowledge, this is the first U.S.-based study looking at the associations between physical inactivity and cervical cancer," said Dr. J. Brian Szender, MPH, lead author of the study and a fellow in the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Roswell Park. "Our findings suggest that abstinence from regular physical activity is associated with increased odds of cervical cancer." 

The case-control study, which included 128 patients diagnosed with cervical cancer and 512 women suspected of having cancer, but ultimately not diagnosed with the disease, defined "physical inactivity" as having engaged in fewer than four sessions of exercise per month. Findings showed that women who reported not engaging in any physical activity were two-and-a-half times more likely to develop cervical cancer when compared to women who reported that they exercise.

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"We think this study sends a powerful public health message: A complete lack of exercise is associated with the greater likelihood of developing a serious disease," said Dr. Kirsten Moysich, MS, senior author of the study and professor of oncology in the Department of Cancer Prevention and Control at RPCI. "Our findings show that any amount of exercise can reduce cervical cancer risk. In addition to smoking cessation and undergoing regular screening, we have identified another important modifiable risk factor for this disease."

Celebrity fitness and wellness trainer Kathy Kaehler says that if you only have time to fit 30 minutes of exercise in each week, "The easiest exercise to fit in whoever you are, wherever you are, with no equipment, is walking. Add hills and some speed and you have a great workout that pumps your blood and tones your legs, glutes and arms." 

If you have the ability to exercise more often, Kaehler recommends getting a workout in as many days of the week as possible. "Because we have the tendency to live very sedentary lives, it is very important to get in as much physical activity as you can. Exercise is the key to life. It boosts your mood and gives you the self-esteem you need, but above it all, it is the reduction in health risks that is the main reason we must all embrace a physical lifestyle."