Be physically active
Exercise and cancer risk
Regular physical exercise is a fantastic way to reduce your cancer risk. And you don't have to pump iron or run a marathon. Think of ways to get more activity into your daily life, like getting off the bus a stop earlier, riding a bicycle or walking to the local shops instead of driving.
Did you know that up to one hour of moderate activity or 30 minutes of vigorous activity daily can cut your risk of cancer?
'Moderate intensity activity' is anything causing a slight but noticeable increase in breathing and heart rate (like brisk walking, mowing the lawn, medium-paced swimming or cycling).
Moderate activities include:
- brisk walking
- medium-paced swimming
'Vigorous activity' makes you huff and puff. It can be defined as exercise at 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate and includes activities like football, squash, netball, basketball, aerobics, circuit training, jogging, fast cycling and rowing.
Vigorous activities include:
- active sports like football, squash, netball and basketball
- activities such as aerobics, circuit training, jogging and fast cycling.
If you exercise regularly you'll feel the benefits in a variety of ways!
How can I be active every day?
- See exercise as an opportunity, not an inconvenience
- Walk instead of driving to the shops, and walk during your lunch breaks
- Walk or cycle to work, and walk up stairs instead of taking the lift or escalator
- Get off the train or bus one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way
- Do vigorous housework like vacuuming or mowing the lawn
- Go and talk to colleagues instead of sending an email
- Step it up – a pedometer is a gadget that fits to your belt and counts the number of steps you take. Aim towards a goal of 10,000 steps.
If you don't like the gym, try:
- Active recreation like bushwalking, surfing or cycling
- Active transport such as walking to public transport, or walking or cycling to your destination
- Sports such as soccer, netball and tennis
- Salsa or ballroom dancing
- Strength training like pilates and yoga
- Brisk walking or jogging
- Skipping rope or ball games.
Visit the Cancer Council Victoria website for more information on physical activity and cancer or read past articles from our monthly cancer prevention newsletter: