Study finds lower cancer risks with just 60 seconds of daily movements

A recent study shows that lowering cancer risk is much easier and takes far less time than we think.

As Beyoncé said in her 2011 Let’s Move campaign, “A little sweat ain’t never hurt nobody […] everybody, just move your body.” 

How to lower cancer risks, lifestyle exercise, exercise cancer
Study finds lower cancer risks with just 60 seconds of daily movements (Photo: Tonl)

Cancer remains one of the most formidable adversaries to human health, but a powerful ally can be found right at the heart of our daily routines — movement. Beyond its well-known benefits for overall physical fitness and mental well-being, a recent study found incorporating four-and-a-half minutes of vigorous activity in one to two-minute intervals can reduce cancer risk by 30%. 

“Until recently, we knew very little about activities done as part of daily living that reach vigorous intensity,” said Dr. Emmanuel Stamatakis, a professor of physical activity, lifestyle, and population health at the Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney in Australia, per CNN

This study is striking because instead of tracking participants’ exercises, it monitored their vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity (VILPA) through accelerometers. By doing so, the researchers proved that small bursts of physical activity, no matter what they are, can lower cancer risks. Scientists have found that VILPA can improve cardiorespiratory fitness, which lessens insulin resistance and chronic inflammation, two major cancer risk factors.

Additionally, a survey conducted by the CDC found 30% of Black adults report inactivity outside of work, making them the second most inactive group in the United States. Similarly, Dr. Stamatakis adds that most middle-aged and older adults do not exercise in their downtime or have never exercised at all. This study hopes to empower people to set their 60-second timers and move towards better health. 

“The principle here is that the best physical activity regimen is the one every person can fit into their weekly or daily routine,” Stamatakis told CNN.

Here are some ways to reframe your mindset to incorporate this into your daily routine. 

  1. Just move 

Often, we’re led to believe that if we didn’t sweat, we didn’t exercise. Simple things like power walking around the house or going up and down the stairs a few times are enough to get your blood flowing. 

  1.  Make it fun 

Whether dancing to your favorite song or playing with your kids, Dr. Stamatakis says these activities can be effective. And if you want to kill two birds with one stone, that deep cleaning you’ve been avoiding can also help lower cancer risks. 

  1.  Keep it short and strong. 

One minute is the equivalent of 60 seconds. So think about it as just 60 seconds of jumping jacks or squats or jogging in place. If you can wait 60 seconds for your food in the microwave or air fryer, you can fit in these activities. 

“Research is gaining new insights into what a healthy movement profile looks like,” Dr. Keith Diaz, assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, told CNN.” And it doesn’t necessarily have to be just spending an hour every day at the gym

Haniyah Philogene is a multimedia storyteller and Lifestyle reporter covering all things culture. With a passion for digital media, she goes above and beyond to find new ways to tell and share stories.

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