Friday, January 7, 2011

How are those New Years' Resolutions?

If you needed another reason to lace up your sneakers and keep your New Years' resolution to be active, this week offered 2:

1) Our team published, in collaboration with colleagues at the American Cancer Society, research on the role of physical activity in colon cancer and colon cancer mortality. There is a strong and consistent body of evidence showing physical activity reduces colon cancer risk. This new study examined whether the consistency of physical activity matters.

We often get this question at CNiC - can I start now? Is it too late? What we found is that consistent physical activity does matter for colon cancer mortality. Does this mean if you haven't been active before now it is too late and you shouldn't bother starting? Absolutely not. It is important to look at this study in the context of the previous work and see the big picture -- physical activity matters for colon cancer risk and mortality. Starting earlier seems to be better, but it doesn't appear it is ever too late to start either.

And of course, the other thing to remember is that physical activity isn't just beneficial for colon cancer - it reduces risk of other cancers AND heart disease AND stroke AND diabetes AND osteoporosis. And physical activity improves the quality of life as well - you FEEL better.

2) Providing another reason to be active - colleagues of ours published a report on the benefit of physical activity after a prostate cancer diagnosis. Among men diagnosed with non-metastatic prostate cancer, those who were physically active after diagnosis were less likely to die and less likely to die of prostate cancer. Overall mortality risk was reduced with activity equivalent to 30 minutes a day of brisk walking. The study suggested more vigorous physical activity may be necessary to reduce risk of prostate cancer specific death.

When the days are short and the temperatures cold, it can be hard to find the motivation to be physically active, even for our team. As we've said before - anything that gets you up and moving is good - even short breaks. And if you think you don't have time, remember our tips. Physical activity is a place where you get enormous "bang for your buck!"

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