Men who exercise often are less likely to die from cancer than those who don’t exercise, according to a new study from the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet. In the study, the researchers looked at the effect of physical activity and cancer risk in 40,708 men aged between 45 and 79.
Over the seven year period of the study, published in the British Journal of Cancer, 3,714 men developed cancer and 1,153 died from the disease. Men who walked or cycled for at least 30 minutes a day had increased survival rates by 33 percent over the men who exercised less or did nothing at all. The researchers also found that a more extensive program of walking and cycling for between 60 and 90 minutes and a day led to a 16 percent lower incidence of cancer. But these activities only led to a five percent reduction in cancer rates among the men who walked or cycled for 30 minutes day, a finding which could be due to chance.
The researchers surveyed men from two counties in central Sweden about their lifestyle and the amount of physical activity they did. They then scored these responses and compared the results with data officially recorded in a central cancer registry over a seven year period.
“These results show for the first time, the affect that daily exercise has in reducing cancer death risk in men aged between 45 and 79”, says Professor Alicja Wolk, who led the study. “We looked at more moderate exercise such as housework, undertaken over a longer period of time and found that this also reduced men’s chances of dying from the disease.”