Walking: a simple activity with high health benefits

With the arrival of autumn and the return to a more routine life after the holidays, it is common to see people reducing their level of physical activity and becoming more sedentary. However, we must not forget to stay active to continue to be healthy.

It is now well known that sedentary people are generally in poorer health than “fit” people who engage in regular physical activity. This regular physical activity significantly reduces not only the risk of being affected by cardiovascular diseases, but also by certain types of cancer, especially those of the colon and breast.

The recognized benefits of physical activity

Thus, the International Agency for Research on Cancer estimates that physical inactivity is responsible for approximately 15% of colon cancers and 10% of breast cancers that develop after menopause. The level of physical activity would also have an impact on prostate, lung and endometrial cancers, but this contribution remains to be better defined.

The exact mechanisms that are responsible for this protection remain misunderstood, but several scientific data suggest that physical activity causes variations in the levels of sex hormones in the blood, stimulation of the immune system and stimulates our defenses against damage to our cells. during ageing. All these factors contribute to improving the proper functioning of our cells and thus delaying the appearance of precancerous cells which can progress to an advanced tumor stage.

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Physical activity ; a key role in cancer prevention

The positive impact of physical activity on cancer prevention will obviously be considerably increased if it helps maintain a healthy weight.

Even though the current obesity epidemic is largely due to excessive calorie consumption, there is no doubt that the increasingly sedentary lifestyle is also contributing to the increase in waist circumference. Population.

Obesity alone constitutes a very important risk factor for the development of several cancers and the maintenance of a normal body mass index plays a very important role in the prevention of these cancers.

So, both for its direct effect on cancer development and for its indirect effect on body weight, regular physical activity plays a key role in cancer prevention.

Walk 3 to 5 hours a week to protect your health

In general, we agree that individuals whose work requires little energy expenditure (office work, for example) should walk for a minimum of one hour every day. Moreover, even if it is often neglected, walking is a simple and economical way to enjoy the benefits of physical activity. For example, a study on the survival of women with breast cancer showed that women in remission who walked the equivalent of 3 to 5 hours per week at a moderate pace were 30% less likely to die from consequences of their cancer than those who were sedentary.

So while it is likely that more vigorous activities such as brisk walking, jogging or even cross-country skiing can further increase the benefits associated with exercise, it seems that the most important action to take is to be active as often as possible, regardless of the intensity of the physical activity performed.

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The real benefit of an activity as simple as household chores

It should also be kept in mind that certain daily activities, such as household chores, climbing stairs or caring for a child can result in considerable energy expenditure and also contribute to good health.

Researchers from the American National Institute of Health have shown that elderly people (70 to 82 years old) who were active in everyday life had a risk of sudden death reduced by 30% compared to those who were more sedentary.

Regular physical activity, coupled with a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and the absence of smoking, therefore represents an essential component of a healthy lifestyle which reduces the risk of being affected by the two main classes of diseases of our society, namely cardiovascular disease and cancer.

So, on your marks, get set, go!


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