A new study has shown that being physically active lowers the risk of early death in cancer survivors, according to WebMD.
The findings also suggest that cancer survivors who are physically inactive or spend over 8 hours of the day sitting are 5 times more likely to die early.
Study authors Chao Cao and Lin Yang of Alberta Health Services in Calgary, Canada, told WebMD that it is “alarming” to see so many cancer survivors lead a sedentary lifestyle.
Cancer survivors should follow the same physical activity guidelines as the general population, according to the American Cancer Society. The guidelines suggest 150 to 300 minutes of moderate activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity each week.
Cao and Yang said, “Getting to or exceeding the upper limit of 300 minutes is ideal.”
The study looked at more than 1,500 cancer survivors and found 57% were physically inactive, with no weekly leisure-time physical activity in the past week. It also found that nearly 16% were “insufficiently” active, getting less than 150 minutes per week, while 28% were active, getting more than 150 minutes of weekly physical activity.
The researchers found that about 25% of cancer survivors reported sitting for over 8 hours per day and 33% reported sitting for 6 to 8 hours each day.
During the study period of 9 years, 293 cancer survivors died – 114 from cancer, 41 from heart diseases, and 138 from other causes, per WebMD.
The authors explained that the risk of dying from cancer or any other cause was about 65% lower in cancer survivors who were physically active.
Cancer survivors who reported sitting for over 8 hours each day had a significantly increased risk of dying from cancer to any other cause.
Cao and Yang said, “Be active and sit less, move more, and move frequently. Avoiding prolonged sitting is essential for most cancer survivors to reduce excess mortality risks.”