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Study reveals anti-cancer move: 150 minutes of exercise weekly

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Study reveals anti-cancer move: 150 minutes of exercise weekly

Post by Y I N G on Wed 16 Feb 2011, 8:55 pm

MANILA CITY, METRO MANILA — It only takes 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week to reduce the risk of breast and colon cancers, diabetes, and heart disease, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

Physical inactivity is identified as the fourth leading cause of all global deaths, with 31 percent of the world’s population not physically active, according to the WHO report “Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health.”

An inactive lifestyle is associated with 3.2 million deaths each year, including 2.6 million deaths in low- and middle-income countries, and 30 percent of diabetes and ischemic heart diseases, the report said.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide after cardiovascular diseases.

Cancer and other lifestyle diseases can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle, according to Dr. Ala Alwan, WHO’s assistant director-general for non-communicable diseases and mental health.

Globally, lung, breast, stomach, liver and colon cancers cause the most cancer deaths each year. In 2008, some 460,000 females died from breast cancer, while close to 610,000 males and females died from colorectal cancer, mostly due to unhealthy lifestyle.

Adults aged 18 years old and above should have 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week while those aged 5 to 17 years old must have 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity to improve health and reduce the risk of lifestyle diseases, Alwan said.

Physical inactivity caused over 670,000 premature deaths or death below 60 years. In the Philippines, the average life expectancy is 64 years for males and 71 years for females.

Physical activity should not be mistaken for sport as it also includes exercise and other activities such as playing, walking, doing household chores, gardening, and dancing, said Alwan.

Physically active persons also have lower risks for heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, and depression; and are likely to maintain their weight.

To reap these benefits, the right type of physical activity should be appropriate for your age group, he added.

There should be resistance exercises to build muscular strength and vigorous aerobic exercise, including weight-loading to improve cardio-respiratory fitness and bone health. Vigorous activities will make kids “huff and puff” especially during sports such as football, basketball, ballet, running and swimming. Kids need to join various activities that are fun and suit their interests, skills and abilities.

It is recommended for adults to have moderate- to vigorous physical activity performed at least 30–60 minutes a day or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobics a week to lower risks of cancers.

These activities include leisure-time activities, transportation through walking or cycling, occupational work, household chores, games, sports or planned exercise. Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups at least two days a week.

Walking is a good start to break away from a sedentary routine. For the first week, walk for ten minutes in three to four days and increase that to 15 minutes throughout the next week and so on. Adults with poor mobility should perform balance training and moderate, muscle-strengthening activities three times per week to reduce risk of falls by 30 percent.

Aside from physical activity, a healthy lifestyle involves not smoking, a healthy diet, maintaining normal weight, and moderate consumption of alcohol.


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