New Study Confirms: Just 75 Minutes of Exercise Per Week Reduces Risk of Heart Disease and Cancer
It is no secret that exercise can reduce your risk of heart disease, and a new study has added to the evidence that physical activity is associated with better health outcomes. Researchers from the MRC Epidemiology Unit at the University of Cambridge have found that just 75 minutes of moderate activity per week is enough to reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and cancer by 17% and 7%, respectively.
The study examined results reported in 196 peer-reviewed articles, covering more than 30 million participants from 94 large study cohorts. It is the largest analysis to date of the association between physical activity levels and risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death. It was found that even half the recommended amount of activity, 75 minutes per week, was enough to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer by 17% and 7%, respectively. For some specific cancers, the reduction in risk was even greater – head and neck, myeloid leukemia, myeloma, and gastric cardia cancers were between 14-26% lower risk. A 3-11% decrease in the risk of lung, liver, endometrial, colon, and breast cancer was observed.
Commenting on the findings, Dr. Soren Brage from the MRC Epidemiology Unit said: “If you are someone who finds the idea of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week a bit daunting, then our findings should be good news. Doing some physical activity is better than doing none. This is also a good starting position – if you find that 75 minutes a week is manageable, then you could try stepping it up gradually to the full recommended amount.”
Dr. Leandro Garcia from Queen’s University Belfast also weighed in on the findings: “Moderate activity doesn’t have to involve what we normally think of exercise, such as sports or running. Sometimes, replacing some habits is all that is needed. For example, try to walk or cycle to your work or study place instead of using a car, or engage in active play with your kids or grand kids. Doing activities that you enjoy and that are easy to include in your weekly routine is an excellent way to become more active.”
According to Professor James Woodcock, co-author of the study, “We know that physical activity, such as walking or cycling, is good for you, especially if you feel it raises your heart rate.
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