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An October 2021 study published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise offers good news for Americans. You may be able to avoid many cancers.

Researchers reviewed physical activity data (reported by patients between 2013 and 2015) for adults ages 30 and older. They linked the rate of new cancer cases (stomach, kidney, esophagus, colon, bladder, breast, and those that involve the uterus) with self-reported exercise behaviors. They found that 46,000, or 3%, of those new cases could be attributed to a lack of physical activity. Had they done at least five hours a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, these people may not have developed cancer.

Moderate intense exercise is activity that increases your heart rate, while still being able to carry on a conversation (the talk test). Of the 1,633,333 people diagnosed with cancer during this time, 46,000 may have avoided cancer with regular exercise.

These findings provide even more proof that regular physical activity can benefit your health and quality of life.

What's the key takeaway? Many people can avoid a cancer diagnosis by doing the recommended amount of exercise. Adults (18 through 64 years) should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week (HHS). Activities such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming are good examples.

Some groups may need help to achieve physical activity guidelines and overcome barriers such as:

  • Chronic conditions.
  • Low income or social barriers.
  • Access to safe exercise settings and child care.
  • Lack of time.

Anyone can achieve healthy physical activity without the cost of joining a gym. A physical therapist can provide you with an effective exercise program. They also can help you overcome your barriers to physical activity.

Contact a physical therapist for an exam and treatment that's specific to you. A physical therapist can help you reach your health and fitness goals. They even may help you avoid a future cancer diagnosis.

Physical therapists are movement experts. They improve quality of life through hands-on care, patient education, and prescribed movement. To find a physical therapist near you, visit Find a PT.

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