Walking 'cuts cancer death risk'

01 September 2014 09:53

Walking just one mile a day could help keep cancer at bay, according to Walking for Health

Walking just one mile a day could help keep cancer at bay, according to Walking for Health

Walking for less than half an hour a day could have a highly positive impact on cancer patients' survival chances, according to new research.

Figures released by Walking for Health suggest that breast cancer patients who walk one mile a day at moderate speed - around 3mph - could lower their risk of dying from the disease by as much as 40%, compared to those who don't.

Similarly, prostate cancer patients can reduce their risk of death by 30%, according to the organisation which is run by the Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support.

People could go for a walk in their local park or walk to the nearest supermarket and back, or they might even want to go on a walking holiday - but are always advised to take out travel insurance for cancer patients before setting off.

Walking for Health based its findings on the Chief Medical Officer's recommendation to get at least two-and-a-half hours of moderate exercise per week. People who choose to walk are being asked to do "brisk" walking - around 3mph or more.

Macmillan said regular physical activity can help with typical side effects experienced by cancer patients, such as anxiety, fatigue or depression, but also swellings, weight problems and limited mobility.

They warned that around four in five of the two million people in the UK who are living with cancer are not currently getting the recommended levels of exercise - despite the wide range of potential health benefits.

Macmillan Cancer Support chief executive Ciaran Devane described physical activity as a "wonder drug" and urged doctors to prescribe exercise as a "standard part of cancer recovery".

Benedict Southworth, chief executive of the Ramblers, said there are many benefits associated with walking, and even short walks can "make the world of difference" for people diagnosed with cancer or other serious health issues.

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