Walking a mile a day could cut cancer deaths by 40%

Patients with breast and prostate cancer could reduce their risk of dying from the disease by walking a one mile a day, studies conducted by Walking For Health, run by Macmillan Cancer Support and the Ramblers, have shown. 

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Patients with breast and prostate cancer could reduce their risk of dying from the disease by walking a one mile a day, studies conducted by Walking For Health, run by Macmillan Cancer Support and the Ramblers, have shown. 

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Walking one mile at a moderate pace, or for 20 minutes a day, could reduce breast cancer patients’ risk of dying from the disease by 40%, while patients with prostate cancer could reduce the risk by 30%.

Macmillan reported that 1.6 million of the two million people living with cancer in the UK are not active at recommended levels, despite proof that physical activity can reduce the impact of some side effects of cancer, such as anxiety, depression and fatigue.  

“We know that the health benefits of physical activity are incredible and today’s research highlights the very simple reality – walking can save lives. For cancer patients, physical activity can manage the devastating side effects of treatment but can also reduce the risk of dying or the cancer coming back.” Ciarán Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, commented. 

“Physical activity is a wonder drug and health care professionals must prescribe physical activity, such as walking, as a standard part of cancer recovery.”

Benedict Southworth, Chief Executive of the Ramblers, says:

“Walking for Health offers free, short group walks across England, which are the perfect way to build confidence and fitness in a friendly, supportive space. Many of our walkers have long term conditions such as cancer themselves and find the companionship and fresh air a wonderful therapy.”

The Chief Medical Officer advises that everyone should undertake at least 150 minutes a week of physical activity of moderate intensity to stay healthy.