Physical activity, exercise and cancer
By being physically active, you can reduce the risk of breast, bowel and womb cancer. Keeping active could help to prevent more than 3,000 cases of cancer in the UK every year.
Just 30 minutes of moderate activity a day, five days a week, can have a positive effect on your health. And the more active you are, the more you can reduce your risk of cancer.
Moderate activity doesn't have to cost you money or too much time. It includes anything that leaves you warm and slightly out of breath, such as brisk walking, gardening, dancing or housework.
Even small bits of activity are beneficial, and can add up over the course of a day. It sounds like a cliche, but you can increase the amount of activity you do by making small changes like taking the stairs instead of the lift, or walking some of the way to work, school or the shops. Even if you have been inactive for years, becoming more active now will have a positive effect on your health.
Ten Top Tips
Cancer Research UK and Weight Concern have joined forces to develop Ten Top Tips for a healthy weight. Following these tips will help you take in fewer calories through food and burn more through activity. They have been designed to fit into your daily life and are based on the best scientific evidence. Find out about the Ten Top Tips and ways of sticking to them in Obesity and Weight.
Fitness vs. Health
Being moderately active will help improve your health and reduce your risk of disease. But if you want to become physically fit you will usually need to do some regular moderate-high intensity activity.
You may want to become fitter if you have a physically demanding job, play sport or want to have a particular body shape. Visit your local leisure centre to find out more about fitness training.
Are we doing enough physical activity in the UK?
The government recommends we do 30 minutes of moderate physical activity (such as brisk walking) at least five days a week. Only 39% of men and 29% of women are currently managing this.
In this section
- Learn about the benefits of walking and tips for walking your way to better health
- Read about how even small bursts of activity are good for you, and ways to keep on moving during your daily routine
- Read our tips for parents to encourage your children to be more active
- Find out about the evidence linking physical activity to cancer
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team