GETTING a sweat on for just four minutes a day could cut your risk of cancer by a third, a study shows.
Vigorous housework, carrying heavy shopping or playing with your children could be enough to protect against the disease.
Australian researchers said it was “remarkable” how short bursts of huffing and puffing during daily tasks helped to stave off 13 cancer types including breast, lung and bowel.
Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis, of the University of Sydney, said it is a “promising cost-free recommendation for lowering cancer risk”.
He said: “Upping the intensity of daily tasks for as little as four to five minutes a day, done in short bursts of around one minute each, is linked to an overall reduction in cancer risk.”
Cancer is the one of the biggest killers in the UK, with around 167,000 dying every year — one person every four minutes.
There are currently 3million people living with the disease in the country, with experts predicting numbers could rise to 5.3million by 2040.
Previous research has linked several cancers to low amounts of exercise, including kidney, throat and some forms of stomach cancer.
The latest study, published in JAMA Oncology, looked at how overall physical activity levels affect cancer risk.
Researchers strapped 22,000 “non-exercisers” with movement trackers and then followed their health records for nearly seven years to see if they got the disease.
Some 2,356 of the participants with an average age of 62 got cancer over the course of the study.
Doing just 3.5 minutes of “vigorous intermittent lifestyle physical activity” was enough to reduce the risk of all cancers by 18 per cent.
Four-and-a-half minutes reduced the chances of cancers linked to activity levels by 32 per cent.
Professor Stamatakis said: “We are just starting to glimpse the potential of technology to track activity and understand how unexplored aspects of our lives affect long-term health.
“The potential impact on cancer prevention and a host of other health outcomes is enormous.”
The 13 cancers linked to physical activity levels
Cancers linked to how much physical activity you do include:
- Gastric cardia (a type of stomach cancer)
- Myeloid leukaemia
- Head and neck
- Oesophageal adenocarcinoma (cancer of the oesophagus)