Exercising for less than 25 minutes a day helps ward off cancer, according to a new study.
Researchers found that just two-and-a-half hours of exercise a week could lower the risk of seven forms of cancer.
Their findings show that sticking to recommended amounts of physical activity could slash the risk of developing cancers including colon, breast and kidney cancer.
The team studied more than 750,000 people’s activity and tracked whether they developed the disease to better understand how physical exercise impacts cancer risk.
The risk of seven of the 15 cancers they studied reduced significantly when people engaged in the recommended amount of exercise.
In addition, the oncologists also found that people who exercised more than the baseline levels showed increasingly lower risk of developing cancer.
Dr Alpa Patel, of the American Cancer Society, said: “While it’s long been known that physical activity is associated with a lower risk of several cancers, less clear has been the shape of the relationship and whether recommended amounts of physical activity are associated with lower risk.
“These findings provide direct quantitative support for the levels of activity recommended for cancer prevention and provide actionable evidence for ongoing and future cancer prevention efforts.”
US guidelines recommend people should aim for between two and a half and five hours of moderate-intensity activity a week, or one to two and a half hours of vigorous activity weekly.
Moderate-intensity activities are those that get you moving enough to burn three to six times as much energy per minute (METs) as sitting quietly, while vigorous-intensity activities burn more than 6 METs.
The study revealed that those who stuck to the lower bands of recommended exercise were linked to reductions in male colon cancer (eight per cent), female breast cancer (six per cent), endometrial cancer (10 per cent), kidney cancer (11 per cent), myeloma (14 per cent), liver cancer (18 per cent), and female non-Hodgkin lymphoma (11 per cent).
People who exercised at the higher band of the recommended rates were associated with up to an additional nine per cent reduction in their cancer risk.
Researchers at the American Cancer Society and Harvard University pooled the data from participants who recorded the amount of physical activity they did during their leisure time.
The research team then tracked the participants to see whether they developed any of 15 types of cancer.
They found that engaging in recommended amounts of activity was linked to a significantly lower risk of seven of these cancers.
In addition, the more exercise a person carried out, the less likely they were to develop cancer.
The researchers said that their findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, provide evidence to support cancer prevention methods.
Dr Patel added: “Physical activity guidelines have largely been based on their impact on chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
“These data provide strong support that these recommended levels are important to cancer prevention, as well.”