Less than five minutes of daily chores that makes people “huff and puff” reduces the risk of some cancers by up to a third, according to a new study.
Researchers found that a total of just 4.5 minutes of vigorous movements during daily tasks cuts the risk of certain cancers by as much as 32 percent – even in people who don’t go to the gym.
Researchers then followed the group’s clinical health records for close to seven years to monitor for cancer.
As few as four to five minutes of vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity – or ‘VILPA’ – was associated with a “substantially lower” cancer risk compared to those who undertook no VILPA.
The term VILPA was coined by researchers at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre to describe the very short bursts of activity – around one minute each – we do with “gusto” each day.
These include activities such as vigorous housework, carrying heavy bags of shopping, bursts of power walking or playing high-energy games with the kids.
Study lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, of the Charles Perkins Centre, said: “VILPA is a bit like applying the principles of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to your everyday life.”
He says adults who don’t exercise are at increased risk of developing certain cancers – such as breast, endometrial or colon.
But, until recently, the impact of less structured forms of vigorous physical activity was unable to be measured.
The study of 22,398 people, with an average age of 62 who didn’t exercise in their leisure time, found a minimum of around 3.5mins of daily VILPA was associated with up to 18 percent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with no VILPA.
And 4.5 mins of daily VILPA was associated with up to 32 percent reduction in physical activity-related cancer incidence, according to the findings published in JAMA Oncology.
The steepest gains in cancer risk reduction were seen in people who did small amounts of VILPA compared to those who did none.
The study is observational, meaning it isn’t designed to directly explore cause and effect.
However, the researchers say they see a “strong” link and said earlier trials showed that intermittent vigorous physical activity leads to “rapid” improvements in cardio-respiratory fitness, which may provide a possible biological explanation for reduced cancer risk.
They say other likely contributor factors include physical activity’s role in improving insulin sensitivity and chronic inflammation.
Stamatakis said: We need to further investigate this link through robust trials, but it appears that VILPA may be a promising cost-free recommendation for lowering cancer risk in people who find structured exercise difficult or unappealing.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker