Don’t work out? Well if you’re a man over 40, here’s one new reason why it’s time to pick up the habit.
According to research from the University of California San Francisco, men who exercised vigorously on a regular basis were 68 percent less likely to develop lethal prostate cancer, a type of cancer with a high mortality rate. Men who only exercised occasionally, or worse, didn’t exercise at all, were more likely to develop this disease, however.
The research appears in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
“It’s interesting that vigorous activity had the highest potential impact on prevention of lethal prostate cancer,” says Stacey Kenfield, Sc.D., lead author of the study and a researcher from the University of California San Francisco. “We calculated the population-attributable risk for American men over 60 and estimated that 34 percent of lethal prostate cancer would be reduced if all men exercised to the point of sweating for at least three hours a week.”
Analyzing data from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Physicians’ Health Study, researchers identified 913 men diagnosed with the disease to participate in the study. At the time of testing, the men were between the ages of 40 to 84, an age where men are susceptible to prostate cancer.
Researchers then assigned each man a point for each healthy habit they engaged in, such as having a body mass index under 30, avoiding tobacco, eating more fatty fish, or exercising. Here they identified the ideal type of exercise as physical activity that made them sweat, which was done for a minimum of three days per week.
Researchers then identified which men scored the highest–and if they correlated with their risk of prostate cancer.
The result? The men who scored the highest–and exercised on a regular basis–were up to 68 percent less likely to develop lethal prostate cancer. Doing few of these “healthy habits” resulted in a higher risk, however, especially for those who didn’t make exercise a regular habit.
For researchers, the study continues to illustrate an important point: To stay healthy, exercise matters.
“This study underscores the ongoing need for more effective prevention measures and policies to increase exercise, improve diet quality and reduce tobacco use in our population,” says June M. Chan, Sc.D., a University of California San Francisco researcher. “It takes co-operation and effort from multiple areas, like insurance companies, employers, policy makers and city planners, to figure out how to creatively support and encourage more exercise into most busy adults’ working day. These lifestyle habits align with other recommendations to prevent diabetes and heart disease.”
So if you haven’t already, get physically active–any activity that makes you sweat is ideal, say health experts.
Readers: How often do you exercise?
Working Up a Sweat May Protect Men From Lethal Prostate Cancer – ScienceDaily.com
Development and Application of a Lifestyle Score for Prevention of Lethal Prostate Cancer – OxfordJournals.org