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High-intensity exercise helps beat cancer

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Performing high-intensity exercise reduces the chances of a person dying from cancer, new research suggests.

A study from the universities of Kuopio and Oulu in Finland looked at 2,560 men from eastern Finland aged between 42 and 61 with no history of cancer over an average of 17 years.

They were asked how often they exercised, with the intensity of exercise measured in metabolic units (MET) or metabolic equivalents of oxygen consumption.

Jogging came top with an average intensity of 10.1 MET, while walking had a score of 4.2 MET. Swimming measured 5.4 MET, gardening/farming 4.3 MET and cycling to work 5.1 MET.

Other exercise included skiing at 9.6 MET, rowing 5.4 MET, ball games 6.7 MET and gymnastics, dancing or weight-lifting 5 MET.

The study found that men who did an average of 5.2 MET activity for at least 30 minutes a day had around half the risk of cancer death of those who exercised less.

Even after adjusting for factors likely to influence the results, such as age, alcohol consumption, smoking, body mass index and calorie intake, this still held true.

Writing in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, the authors said that high intensity exercise was best for lowering the risk of getting cancer and dying from it, particularly for lung and gastrointestinal cancers.

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