Now you know just how much your risk of cancer drops when you exercise

You are likely to know all about the health benefits of staying active as you get older, but researchers in the United States have given you yet another reason to keep moving — you can lower you risk of developing 13 types of cancer.

The study out of the National Cancer Institute not only shows that exercise lowers your risk, it will also show you by just how much your risk is lowered.

Naturally. if you exercise a lot you have the greatest benefit to someone who doesn’t exercise at all. However, if you are exercising the most you can lower your risk of developing esophageal cancer — which affects the food pipe — by a whopping 42 per cent.

The study of 1.4 million people found that the biggest exercisers were doing something as simple as a brisk walk, staying active for just over an hour everyday.

It also looked at more strenuous exercise like running, and moderate activities like swimming, strolling and even gardening.

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“It [exercise] can help people reduce their risk of heart disease. It can reduce the risk of diabetes. It extends life expectancy. And now it appears that it may reduce the risks of some cancers,” Steven Moore of the NCI told NBC News.

The study also found that even obese people, who generally have a higher risk of developing cancer, can be somewhat protected by exercise and that current and former smokers had their risk of lung cancer reduced.

Those who exercised the most have:

  • 27 per cent less risk of liver cancer
  • 26 per cent less risk of lung cancer
  • 23 per cent less risk of kidney cancer
  • 22 per cent less risk of stomach cancer
  • 21 per cent less risk of endometrial cancer
  • 20 per cent less risk of myeloid leukemia
  • 17 per cent less risk of myeloma
  • 16 per cent less risk of colon cancer
  • 15 per cent less risk of head and neck cancers
  • 13 per cent less risk of rectal and bladder cancers
  • 10 per cent less risk of breast cancer

Moore says the findings support the promotion of a physically active lifestyle as a key component of population-wide cancer prevention and control efforts.

Are you physically active everyday? What forms of exercise do you do?