Get Off the Couch
Physical activity can help maintain a healthy body weight, and a healthy body weight has been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.
Don’t let the idea of “physical activity” put you off. While working out in a gym or playing a sport is great, physical activity is about much more than this. Think of it as how you can use your muscles more in your everyday life. If you drive to work, sit at a desk all day, and use all the conveniences of modern life, you probably need to move more.
Previous generations were much more active in their daily life than most of us are. They didn’t go to a gym to get their blood pumping – jobs in factories or farm work required a lot of physical activity. They walked or rode bicycles to get to work. Housework, without today’s labour-saving appliances, was a strenuous physical workout in itself.
When you think of physical activity in these terms, it’s easier to get active – it doesn’t have to be expensive or inconvenient. Being active can make you feel good too.
- Don’t worry about starting small – every little bit helps. Gradually increase your activity level over time.
- Avoid the elevator and take the stairs wherever you are. Every step counts. Walking 10,000 steps a day is a good starting point. For maximum health benefits, 2,000 to 4,000 steps need to be at a brisk pace. Wearing a pedometer can help you keep track.
- Start up a lunchtime activity club at work or school. You may be surprised at the response. Sometimes people are just waiting for someone else to organize something.
- Walk, roller-blade, scooter or cycle to work or school. If you can’t do it all the way, try being active for part of the journey.
- Stretch throughout the day. This can relieve tension when you have to sit for long periods of time.
- Walk to a co-workers’ office to discuss an issue instead of phoning or sending an e-mail.
- Swap 30 minutes of television for a 30-minute walk each day.
- Make play time with your kids physical for everyone. Don’t watch them play – play tag, soccer or ball hockey with them.
Physical activity and cancer
Research shows that regular physical activity over your lifetime protects against colon cancer.