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Non-exercise physical activity helps fight cancer?

A new report may offer some welcome news to those who don't always make it the gym.
October 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Few can dispute the benefits of regular exercise. For good health, Americans are supposed to get 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous activity. But now a new report may offer some welcome news to those who don't always make it the gym.

"Non-exercise physical activity is equally important," said internal medicine specialist Dr. Thirumala Raju.

Non-exercise physical activity simply means not sitting around. This includes doing housework, gardening or simply just getting out of chairs and walking around.

Dr. Raju practices what she preaches. At her job she rarely sits for more than 10 minutes.

Now a new report presented to the American Association for Cancer Research finds something very specific about the connection between being sedentary and colon cancer.

The study was done on 1,700 men and women with precancerous colorectal lesions, or polyps. It found those who spent 11 and a half hours a day sitting were 45 percent more likely to have these polyps come back.

"Avoiding being sedentary was a message that they were trying to drive across to people," said Raju.

Dr. Raju says the sedentary people in the study who then went out and did traditional exercise did not reap as much anti-cancer benefit as those who had high levels of non-exercise physical activity.

"You could do household chores, get the same results, so no more excuses," said Raju.

Another study in Sweden found seniors who had non-sedentary hobbies were able to add at least 12 years to their life spans.

Dr. Raju says this should encourage all of us to spend more time on our feet.

"Every 10 to 12 minutes you have to let your body move," said Raju.

Movement is the message.

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