Reduce Your Risk of Cancer with Just a Few Minutes of Intense Physical Activity

plays a crucial role in maintaining good and overall . Research has consistently shown that regular can decrease the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Unfortunately, many individuals struggle to meet the recommended levels of physical activity, which poses a significant challenge to public health. However, a new study has brought some good news for those who dislike or are unable to engage in structured vigorous physical activity.

Short Bursts of Intense Physical Activity and Cancer Risk

A recent study has found that just 4.5 minutes per day of intense physical activity, divided into short sessions lasting one to two minutes, is associated with up to a 32% reduction in the risk of cancer. The study included 22,398 non-active adults who participated in the UK Biobank study and wore wrist-worn accelerometers to measure their physical activity levels over an average duration of 6.7 years.

Understanding Vigorous Intermittent Lifestyle Physical Activity (VILPA)

Researchers have coined the term “Vigorous Intermittent Lifestyle Physical Activity” (VILPA) to describe these short bouts of intense physical activity. VILPA refers to activities that are part of our daily lives, such as climbing stairs, sprinting, or brisk walking over short distances. Unlike traditional continuous and structured exercise, VILPA involves short bursts of intense and sporadic physical activity.

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The Study and Its Findings

The study focused on adults between the ages of 40 and 69 who did not engage in physical activity during their leisure time and participated in less than one recreational walk per week. Using data recorded by the wrist-worn accelerometers, the researchers examined the relationship between VILPA and the incidence of cancer among the participants.

Over the course of the study, 2,356 new cases of cancer were identified. The researchers used a machine learning technique called “random forest” to classify the recorded physical activity based on its intensity. The analysis revealed a nearly linear relationship between VILPA and , meaning that engaging in more VILPA was associated with a lower risk of cancer.

Reducing Cancer Risk with Just a Few Minutes of VILPA

Most VILPA sessions lasted one to two minutes, and on average, the participants engaged in 4.5 minutes of VILPA per day, with a maximum of 16 minutes. The statistical analyses showed that compared to those who did not engage in any VILPA, individuals who participated in 4.5 minutes of VILPA per day had a 20% reduced risk of cancer.

Past research has already established a link between low levels of physical activity and certain types of cancer, including liver, lung, kidney, stomach, endometrial, myeloid leukemia, myeloma, colon, head and neck, bladder, breast, and esophageal cancer. This new study further highlights that engaging in 4.5 minutes of VILPA per day can reduce the risk of these physically activity-related cancers by approximately 31%.

The Need for Further Research

While the study's findings are promising and have been commended by experts, further research is needed to better understand the underlying mechanisms and establish precise recommendations. It is important to note that this study does not establish a cause-and-effect relationship due to its design. Therefore, additional intervention studies using VILPA are necessary to confirm the findings and evaluate the effectiveness of this approach in reducing the risk of cancer.

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The study emphasizes the importance of physical activity in cancer . Even a few minutes of intense physical activity spread throughout the day can significantly reduce the risk of cancer. VILPA offers a promising alternative to traditional recommendations based solely on the duration of physical activity, particularly for individuals who do not enjoy exercising. However, conducting further research is crucial to confirm these findings, gain a better understanding of the relationship between VILPA and cancer risk, and develop specific guidelines for the general population.

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