A new study published in JAMA Oncology suggests that just a few minutes of vigorous physical activity each day could significantly reduce the risk of cancer among generally inactive individuals. The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney, analyzed data from 22,398 non-exercising adults who wore activity trackers on their wrists for a week.
The findings were remarkable. Participants who engaged in daily vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity (VILPA) for an average of 4.5 minutes per day had a 32% lower risk of cancer compared to those who did not engage in VILPA. Even those who exercised for only 3.4 to 3.6 minutes per day still experienced a 17% to 18% reduction in cancer risk.
The study adjusted for various factors such as age, BMI, heart disease history, sleep habits, diet, family cancer history, and smoking status. This ensured that the results were not skewed by other elements.
VILPA involves incorporating short bursts of intense physical activity into daily tasks such as climbing stairs, carrying heavy grocery bags, completing household chores, walking briskly, and playing high-energy games with children. By integrating these activities into their daily routines, individuals who struggle with structured exercise can still achieve the same cancer-reducing benefits.
It is important to note the limitations of the study. The majority of participants were of White ethnicity, which may affect the generalizability of the findings to other populations. Additionally, the study was observational in nature, meaning it cannot definitively prove a cause-and-effect relationship between VILPA and cancer prevention.
Further research is needed to fully understand the link between VILPA and cancer prevention. Robust trials can help establish the effectiveness of this form of physical activity in reducing cancer risk.
The study also highlights the potential impact of wearable technology in tracking physical activity and its effects on long-term health. By utilizing devices like activity trackers, individuals can gain a better understanding of their physical activity levels and make informed decisions about their overall health.
In conclusion, just a few minutes of vigorous physical activity each day through VILPA can significantly reduce the risk of cancer among generally inactive individuals. While the study had limitations, it opens the door to further research and emphasizes the importance of integrating physical activity into daily routines. With wearable technology, individuals have the means to take control of their health and potentially reduce their risk of developing cancer.