Exercise Your Right to Fight Disease

A report published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that another important prevention factor for an even wider group of cancers is having a body mass index (BMI) below 25. BMI is a measure of body fat that takes into account a person's height and weight. A low BMI means you have less fat on your body.

The report also showed that health risks can be up to 50 percent higher if you're overweight (with a BMI between 25 and 29.9) -- and up to 80 percent higher if you're obese (with a BMI of 30 and over).

Indeed, a high BMI may be to blame for nearly 4 percent of all cancer cases, according to another study, published in The Lancet Oncology.

There's no doubt that diet and exercise work together to lower BMI. Besides cutting calories, to lose weight you need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week, and 60 to 90 minutes a day to maintain a loss.

But don't stop there. Other research has found that the more exercise you do, the more you can reduce your risk for many diseases. Indeed, people whose physical activity levels were several times higher than the recommended minimum had the greatest reductions in risk.

Of course, it's hard for everyday Americans to spend hours a day working out unless you have a treadmill workstation on the job, for instance. But try to take a few three- to five-minute exercise breaks throughout the day, and look for opportunities for more activity on the weekends, from family hikes to ski and camping trips.

More information

The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has ideas about how to move more to achieve these health benefits.

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Exercise your right to fight disease - Medical Xpress

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Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Clinic; 2015. Effect of combined aerobic and resistance training versus aerobic training alone in individuals with coronary artery disease: A meta-analysis. Late-night eating: OK if you have diabetes? Discover how small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference. Stop your activity right away if you become severely out of breath or dizzy, or if you experience chest pain or pressure. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics; 2009.