Get Moving

The results of several studies have indicated that a lack of physical activity increases the risk for developing colon cancer. A recent review of these studies now indicates that frequency, duration and intensity of activity are important factors in risk reduction. In fact, some of the studies indicate that individuals need between 3.5 and 4 hours of vigorous activity per week to optimize protection against colon cancer.

Researchers have speculated that physical activity increases gut motility, enhances the immune system, decreases insulin and decreases obesity, all of which may help prevent colon cancer.

Bad news: The combined results of these studies indicate that 12-14% of colon cancers can be attributed to lack of vigorous physical activity.

Good news: Another recent study designed to assess lifestyle changes in colon cancer survivors found that survivors made significant improvements in multiple health-related behaviors, including increasing physical activity and increasing vegetable intake.

1. Slattery ML. Physical activity and colorectal cancer. Sports Medicine. 2004; 34: 239-52.
2. Satia J, et al. Longitudinal changes in lifestyle behaviors and health status in colon cancer survivors. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers Prevention. 2004; 13: 1022-31.