How Walking Makes a Positive Impact on Cancer

By Erin Palinski-Wade

Certain cancers seem to be impacted by walking more than others, one of which is breast cancer. The American Cancer Society found that by walking seven hours per week, you can lower your risk of developing breast cancer after menopause by 14 percent.

Even more surprising is that this study found that even if women were overweight or gained weight during the study, the act of walking still decreased their cancer risk.

Colon cancer and exercise also appear to have a significant link. Some research suggests that people who are physically active on a regular basis can decrease their risk of colon cancer by about 25 percent. These individuals are also less likely to develop polyps of the colon, which can become cancerous over time. Some evidence also points to physical activity decreasing the risk of prostate and lung cancer.

Being overweight, being inactive, smoking, and eating a diet rich in red meat or low in fruits and vegetables can all increase your risk. However, many things you do every day can also help to prevent cancer. Leading a physically active lifestyle, regardless of your body weight, can have a protective effect in the fight against cancer.

As compelling as the evidence is, you may be asking yourself why exercise, such as walking, makes such an impact on cancer risk. One reason, especially when it comes to colon cancer, is that increased physical activity helps to promote regular bowel movement which allows carcinogens in undigested food to pass through the bowel more quickly.

Exercise such as walking also lowers insulin resistance. When insulin is elevated in your body, it may encourage the growth of tumors. Therefore, decreasing the amount of insulin circulating in the body by decreasing insulin resistance may help to protect against cancer growth.