Taking a brisk walk daily could prevent thousands of cases of breast and bowel cancer, according to new research.
Just 45 minutes a day of activity at a moderate level could prevent about 5,500 cases of breast cancer in the UK. And at least 4,600 bowel cancer cases could also be stopped if people were moderately active for at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, research showed.
Moderate activity is any type of exertion that increases heart beat and makes you breathe more deeply.
Shorter bouts of exercise are also just as good as longer ones. It is the total time spent that is important, according to the World Cancer Research Fund, a charity.
It says choice of a healthy diet and taking regular exercise lowers the risk of developing cancer across the board, reports the
Besides brisk walking, other significant activities include cycling leisurely, dancing, swimming at a leisurely pace, gardening and vacuuming combined with other housework.
According to the Fund, exercise also cuts the risk of women developing womb cancer. It seems to keep cancer at bay by helping people stay a healthy weight.
For example, slimmer women are less at risk of cancer-promoting hormones produced by body fat. The risk of dozens of other cancers is also lower than for those who are overweight or obese.
Rachel Thompson, the deputy head of science at the Fund, said people should aim to be physically active for at least half an hour every day.
"There is now very strong evidence that being physically active is important for cancer prevention," she said.