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Even Physically Active People Should Get More Exercise, Researchers Say



Are you one of those people who starts the day with an early morning jog before heading off to the 9 - 5 grind? If you've answered yes to this question, you might be surprised to read that you're still not exercising enough. According to research presented at the November 2011 meeting of the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), even physically active Americans are at risk for cancer and other potentially deadly diseases.

Dr. Neville Owen, Head of Behavioral Epidemiology at Australia's Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, discussed the results of his research which suggests that physical inactivity takes a toll on the health of people whom, by most definitions, are generally considered physically active.

"In our studies, we've measured waist circumference, insulin resistance and inflammation - indicators of cancer risk common to many physical activity - cancer studies. We've found that breaks as short as one minute can lower these biomarkers." Neville Owen reported.

The researcher went on to discuss how most people spend the majority of the waking hours sitting down, which cuts down on the amount of physical activity that they participate in. These sedentary bouts increase cancer risk particularly among overweight and obese people whom are already fighting cancer. The issue is of such concern that Dr. Owen said:"Television viewing time, a sign of sedentary behavior, appears to increase subsequent risk of weight gain in cancer survivors." 

Thirty Minutes Is Not Enough

Other experts echoed the need for more exercise. Alice Bender, spokesperson for the AICR said that a person getting thirty minutes of exercise is off to a good start "But what happens during the other 15 hours and 30 minutes he spends awake? If he's like most Americans, he sits - on his commute, at the office, and at home. So this person who fits the tradition of someone who's physically active is actually just active three percent of his waking day."

That's shocking because this describes the vast majority of the people who consider themselves to be physically active. When you consider that the overwhelming majority of Americans are overweight or obese (due to sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits), it means that most Americans are far less healthy than one would expect. 

What's interesting is that the conclusions reached by the presenters at the AICR slightly contradicts the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommendations regarding physical exercise and cancer prevention.

Last February the Organization published its Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health wherein they suggest that 150 minutes of exercise per week could significantly reduce cancer risk (click on "Healthy Lifestyle May Prevent Cancer Deaths: WHO" to read more about this story). The guidelines are based on observations that showed a link between sedentary behaviors and increased risk for heart disease and cancer.

But who is right? The World Health Organization or the American Institute for Cancer Research? Both agree that people should participate in daily exercise. The AICR's Bender just extends that beyond the thirty minute minimum suggested by the WHO.

Indeed, most people don't realize the many opportunities they have for brief bouts of exercise throughout the day. During lunch and midday rest breaks, people can take a few minutes to performing body squats, dips or push ups. After this short exercise period, they can return to work, their bodies invigorated by the physical activity.

How many exercises can you fit into your workday?


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Article Source

American Institute for Cancer Research.


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I have to admit that though I'm not a couch potato, I haven't always been as physically active as I could and should be in order to better my health. When I go to the gym, I try to exercise at least 30 minutes a day to try to help myself as much as I can. But since reading this article and the reports from the World Health Organization and the American Institute for Cancer Research about how important and beneficial exercising is to one's health and how it can assist in making a difference in one's life, that makes me feel even better about myself and want to make sure that I'm active as much as I can be. Because, not only am I toning my body up and making myself look better on the outside by exercising, I'm working toward making my body more healthy on the inside also. And that is something to smile about:)

Thank you for commenting. It's very important to stay physically fit. Working out seems to be benefit you a lot. I wish you continued success. :)

This article is very informing as many or most people probably feel that they exercise enough or too much. In reading your detailed information as how more or increasing the amount of working out can actually benefit a person and it can be done in small amounts. Compared to the total time that is spent in not being active , it doesn't take up a lot more time an can add up to physically altering the body's total health. I find that the web site livingfithealthyandhappy to be knowledgeable with helpful insight.

Hi Betty,

I agree with you, physical activity is very important. Even if we put in 15 minutes of moderate exercise each day, it will improve our health tremendously.

Thanks for your comment.

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