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Physical activity can help reduce your risk of cancer - both for the first time, and recurring cancer. Find out how being active can reduce your risk, which cancers you can combat with physical activity and how to maintain an active lifestyle.
In Ireland, only 3 in 10 adults are active enough to reduce their risk of cancer. The good news is that even if you're inactive now, your health will benefit immediately when you start getting active.
There are three ways that physical activity fights cancer:
Being active reduces your risk of bowel cancer. For postmenopausal women, there is a possible link between physical activity, breast and womb cancers.
Being physically active doesn't mean working out for hours every day. It can be simple, like walking more: every little bit helps. Aim for at least thirty minutes of moderate physical activity each day, and decrease how much time you spend being inactive: like watching TV or playing computer games.
Moderate activity is anything that gets your heart beating faster than normal and your breathing deeper than normal. Brisk walking is a good example.
You can get started today (if you have health problems, talk to your doctor before you do) with 10-15 minutes of moderate activity three to four times per week. Then gradually build up to thirty minutes a day. You don't have to do it all in one go, either: two to three short sessions can make up your daily thirty minutes.
If you're already somewhat active, increase how your physically active time, for example, from thirty minutes to sixty minutes. Or increase your effort - swing your arms while you walk, or walk faster.
You don't have to become an athlete; you can incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.
The Department of Health and Children have a Get Ireland Active programme. They say that physical activity doesn't just cut your cancer risk, but also gives you a better heart, lungs and increases your muscular fitness. Being active reduces your risk of heart disease and can even give you better mental health.