Can Exercise Help Prevent Cancer?

You can lower your chances of getting cancer (called “cancer risk”) by moving your body throughout the day. Being physically active helps the body in many ways:

  • It helps prevent damaged cells from growing out of control or turning into cancer.
  • It increases oxygen flow throughout the body.
  • It strengthens the immune system.
  • It lowers inflammation associated with increased cancer risk.
  • It helps you keep a healthy weight. This controls the hormones that may stimulate tumor growth.
  • It increases the chances of cancer survival.
  • It helps you sleep better, have energy, and feel calm.

Ways to Stay Active

Move Your Body More

Sitting for long periods of time can increase risk for heart disease and obesity. Obesity can lead to many chronic diseases, including cancer. Get up and move for at least 3-5 minutes every hour.

Stay Active As You Age

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a week.

Children should also get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity a day.

Use Your Muscles

Exercise that strengthens muscles is just as important as exercise that works your heart and lungs. Building muscle increases strength, boosts metabolism, and helps you keep a healthy weight.